Andy Bishop’s quest begins promisingly when he leaves Columbus, Ohio, in 1914 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. In Austria-Hungary, his goals are threefold: make contact with distant Austrian relatives, practice his nascent journalistic skills, and discover why his aristocratic ancestor, Matthias zu Windischgrätz, immigrated to America so long ago.
The scenery changes drastically as Andy witnesses the last stand of imperial Austrian society. He arrives just three weeks before the assassination of the Kaiser’s nephew, the Habsburg Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie. This event sparks the fateful slide toward world war and chaos for both family and friends. Andy’s fateful decision to remain in the doomed Habsburg Empire after the war begins—and his irresistible attraction to a young Austrian countess—lead him to Budapest, Rome, and finally Paris, as Europe is convulsed by the greatest war since the defeat of Napoleon.
Told from the perspective of Andy Bishop, An American in Vienna presents historical insight into the Austrian court, royal society, and the demise of a once-powerful empire as it becomes embroiled in the Great War.