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War in Val D'Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944 Paperback – June 28, 1999
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'It is jolting to recall, through Origo's sober and self-effacing prose, the atrocious conditions of the summer of 1944, as the Allies fought their way painfully up the peninsula from the beachhead of Anzio.' Financial Times
About the Author
IRIS ORIGO (1902-1988) was born in England, the child of an Anglo-Irish mother and an American father. Privately educated in Florence, she later devoted herself to the development of La Foce, her Tuscan farming estate, and to her writing. Her work in biography includes Leopardi: A Study in Solitude, and The Last Attachment, a study of Byron's love affair with Teresa Guiccioli. During World War Two she and her husband, the Marchese Antonio Origo, converted La Foce into a refuge for children from the bombed cities of northern Italy and escaped Allied prisoners of war. The Marchesa Origo was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in England.
Top customer reviews
Lady Origio's writing style is that of a well breed, well educated, privileged American woman. This portion of her diary of the last few years of WWII, describe a life unimaginable, although after having just visiting the countryside where the events in this diary took place, I couldnt help but be drawn in. Although she is very descriptive in her writing, unless you have seen the countryside, driven the distances seen the abandoned farms, you cannot fully grasp what was endured. Clearly, her husband and she were well respected in the area, but even that could not save them. I also think Lady Origio had a 'spunk' that Americans in general had in the early part of last century that has been lost since.
Not always an easy read, in part due to font style and size, and often untranslated phrases, if you have travelled to the area or soon will, it is definitely a good read that explains why so many buildings, farms and towns that had stood do for centuries, are now abandoned, or built on to.
I thoroughly enjoyed the both the stories and the perspective in which they were presented. Although the author was a Brit she was a long time resident of Italy and that combination shone through nicely.
She blended the reported Italian national and BBC news, her own daily experiences and the "neighborhood" news into a very interesting picture of the daily tribulations experienced locally and even though I knew that the Allies had severely bombed Italian cities and towns it was still a shock to read of that brutality and how many civilians were targeted.
I found it interesting that many of the local German military did not follow Hitler's orders and were somewhat relaxed and allowed the Local Italians to navigate their daily lives safely while aiding the Allied prisoners to subsist and eventually escape.
The book was both enjoyable and a learning experience
Her matter of fact recounting of the Origo's efforts is extraordinary.
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Iris Origo's life