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on 22 April 2011
This book is one of the most enjoyable, fascinating and interesting I have read in recent years. The story of Iris and Antonio is one of courage and luck, all described in a very simple, easy to read day by day diary. An ideal holiday read.
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on 1 September 2011
A great book perfect for my irish friend: he loves italian WWII history and this diary could help him understanding one of the most sad pages of the italian history.
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on 21 August 2013
I first read this book after reading about Iris Origo's childhood in Florence and was impressed with how she told the story of the people of the Val d'Orcia during the terrible times of 1944. Since then I have read her autobiography and a biography, in addition to visiting La Foce and two books covering the war in Italy in 1944. Re-reading this book was again a pleasure, made even more so by the fact I know understood so much more of the background. This book brings to life what it was like to be living in Tuscany, waiting for the Allies to battle their way up Italy, the ever present Germans and partisans, sometimes in the property at the same time and the day to day decisions about how to house, clothe and feed the many souls who came to depend on the Origos. This is the story of a remarkable couple, made more so because they were just doing what they thought was right. If you love history, Italy and are interested in World War II, this book is perfect for you. If you want to read a gripping story about how to overcome adversity, this book is also for you.
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on 21 May 2013
I read this book a while ago and it is still fresh in my mind. Having visited the Val D'Orcia and Montepulciano many times it has a particular resonance. I have also visited the magnificent La Foce twice and the presence of Iris and her husband can still be felt through the love her children clearly have for the place. The book is a real tale of heroism although Iris and her husband do not appear to see it as anything other than their duty to help others. They placed themselves in great danger on a daily basis by helping those of all nationalities escape from the clutches of the fascists and the story surpasses any WW11 novel that can have been written concerning the events in Italy at this time, and in particular Tuscany. It is a tragic but at the same time heart warming story which demonstrates the best and worst of mankind's behaviour towards each other. Simply a must read story.
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on 15 February 2015
The diary reflects a small area of the war in Italy's impact on the local population. It helped to have read 'Italy's Sorrow' by James Holland beforehand. Im my case I was interested in my Fathers war in Italy as a (an Italian speaking) Captain Royal Engineers * who seems to have reason to liase with the Partisan resistance and the Italian Royalist Army. *More research here for me to do.
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on 12 March 2014
Having read Iris Origo's autobiography I visited the Val d Orcia. A beautiful area. I was given War in Val d Orcia as a Christmas present. I can only say this is one of the best books I have ever read. Perhaps because I have been to the area but also the way Iris describes the experiences of being in the frontline of war.
Read this book.
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on 23 April 2015
this an unembellished diary of her life at the farm in Umbria and day to day events during the year of the most ferocious fighting in Italy in the second world war.
It is told in terse language with little comment or judgement, but reading between the lines one gets a picture of a heroic young woman caught up in momentous times.
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on 13 August 2014
Quite interesting, it reminded me of my own WW2 experience, which had some similarities.

I was in the San Miniato's cathedral together with my family on July 22nd, 1944, when 55 people were killed all around us as an American stray shell penetrated the building exploding in mid air, wounding my father and my sister.
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on 8 September 2015
If you don't know much about how the Second World War affected the Italians, both those who lived on the land and the aristocrats, then this is the diary to read. It is written in a very clear, matter-of-fact style, but conveys the suffering and the warm humanity of those who lived in Italy during this turbulent period.
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on 12 July 2013
Having just come back from a holiday in the val d' Orcia I wish I had known of this book before I went as it brings to life a dramatic and harrowing time in which thankfully is now a beautiful and peaceful land.
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