Iris Origo, one of the twentieth century’s great diarists, was born in England in 1902. As a child, she moved between England, Ireland, Italy and America, never quite belonging anywhere. It was only when she married an Italian man that she came to rest in one country. Fifteen years later, that country would be at war with her own. With piercing insight, Origo documents the grim absurdities that her adopted Italy underwent as war became more and more unavoidable. Connected to everyone, from the peasants on her estate to the US ambassador, she writes of the turmoil, the danger, and the dreadful bleakness of Italy in 1939-1940. Published for the first time in paperback, A Chill in the Air is the account of the awful inevitability of Italy’s stumble into a conflict for which its people were ill prepared. With an introduction by Lucy Hughes-Hallett, the award-winning author of The Pike, and an afterword by Katia Lysy, granddaughter of Iris Origo, this is the gripping precursor to Origo’s bestselling classic diary War in Val d’Orcia.