The War in Val D’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943-1944

A classic of World War II, here in its first American edition, War in Val d’Orcia is Iris Origo’s elegantly simple chronicle of daily life at La Foce, a manor in a Tuscan no-man’s land bracketed by foreign invasion and civil war.

With the immediacy of a diary, the book describes how the Marchesa Origo, an Anglo-American married to an Italian landowner, maintained La Foce and its farms despite the war’s pressing threats to overrun the manor. Origo and her husband managed to protect their peasants, aid refugee children from Genoa and Turrin, hide escaped Allied prisoners of war, and resist the Germans–until June of 1944, when the Nazis occupied La Foce and forced the Marchesa and the sixty children in her care to flee.

Beyond praise and above mere documentary value, War in Val d’Orcia belongs to the literature of humanity.

Beyond doubt a minor masterpiece. –The Washington Post

A welcome rediscovery, evoking a unique, strange moment in civilian/soldier wartime-history with spare, vital immediacy. –Kirkus

Even the most casual acquaintance with Iris Origo cannot fail to produce the impression of a remarkable woman. –The New York Times Book Review

A welcome rediscovery, evoking a unique, strange moment in civilian/soldier wartime-history with spare, vital immediacy. –Kirkus

Even the most casual acquaintance with Iris Origo cannot fail to produce the impression of a remarkable woman. –The New York Times Book Review

Iris Origo, Marchesa of Val d’Orcia, was a British-born biographer and writer. She lived in Italy and devoted much of her life to the improvement of the Tuscan estate at La Foce, near Montepulciano, which she purchased with her husband in the 1920s. During the Second World War, she consistently sheltered refugee children and assisted many escaped Allied prisoners of war and partisans in defiance of Italy’s fascist regime and Nazi occupation forces.