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An American in Vienna Paperback – January 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (January 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450267661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450267663
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,055,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Why this book? Why a story that takes place in Vienna right before and during the First World War?
As far as the place, Vienna is a city where I lived and went to school in the 1970's and which has always had special place in my heart. There are some cities in the world that are so heavily steeped in history, art, culture, music and so many other attributes and qualities that they beg to be described in a book. Vienna is such a city, as is my own city of New Orleans. Vienna is a smorgasbord waiting to be explored, experienced and enjoyed over and over again; a pleasure I enjoyed immensely while researching and writing this historical novel. The end of Vienna's imperial era came in a long, fantastic burst of architecture, philosophy, medicine, art and music that have few equals in the history of mankind. 
Then there is the time. There have been so many books written about the Second World War or the Cold War in Europe that I thought it might interest readers to go back a little further in history to a time that was not so overworked. The Edwardian era that ended in 1914 was a time not completely unlike our own when, for example,telephones and automobiles existed.   Yet this time is nearly 100 years past; far enough to arouse curiosity and interest. It was a unique time in the 20th century when monarchy, aristocracy and many of the old ways of life of the 19th century were still intact but about to be swept away in the horror of industrialized warfare, nationalism and the beginning of the end of imperialism.  In An American in Vienna, I wanted to explore and try to recreate the feeling of this time and place, traces of which are still visible to the tourist in Vienna to this day.
Above all, this is a story about people trying to live their lives in a time of radical change and even chaos. The main characters in An American in Vienna meet in unique circumstances and the love story that evolves against the background of this special time and place is inevitably affected by their environment. It is their story that gives the time and place its life force and, hopefully, recreates the feeling of what it was like to live then and there that a history book could never do.

From the Back Cover

Johann looked back again to ensure that the distance closed. He was incredulous
as he watched the archduke's car slow and turn right, off the quay,
into one of the narrow side streets. The following car also slowed and looked
as if it was going to turn as well.
"What ... is that idiot doing?" Johann shouted as he stood up in his seat,
looking back. "Stop the car!" he said. As the car came to a stop, the police
officers in the backseat were also staring back and preparing to leap out of
the car. Johann got out of the car first and turned to start running toward
the side street where he saw that the archduke's car was starting to back out.
Then he heard it.
There were two sharp pops, one after the other. Then Dubcek and several
police officers were jumping out of the rear car, chasing a man who was
running out of the side street with a pistol in his hand. They caught him,
but not before Johann saw him shove something in his mouth. Poison. The
police wrestled him to the ground as pedestrians began rushing toward the
spot, yelling and screaming.

More About the Author

Chip Wagar is a practicing attorney in New Orleans where he has lived since 1976. He grew up in the Adirondacks region of upstate New York in Glens Falls as the oldest of four children. He attended the Austro-American Institute in Vienna during his college years at the George Washington University where he was graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. At George Washington University and the Austro-American Institute, Chip studied Central and Eastern European politics and history including the Soviet Union.

After graduation from college, Chip came to New Orleans to attend Tulane University School of Law from which he was graduated cum laude in 1979. By then, he had developed what proved to be a life-long attachment to the City of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region where he has lived ever since. Chip Wagar has been a civil litigation trial lawyer for over 30 years and now concentrates his practice in medical malpractice and products liability. He is married to Cheryl Nolan Wagar and has two adult children, Will and Sarah.

Customer Reviews

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A very entertaining read.
bengol
An American in Vienna winds its way through one of the most remarkable eras in history - the passing of the "old world" and the birth of modern Europe and America.
Bibliophilos
The historical background is meticulously detailed, but the whole novel is a fun read that is hard to put down.
avidreader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By avidreader on July 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chip Wagar's first novel offers a wonderfully detailed, suspenseful tale told from the point of view of a young American who comes to Vienna just as WWI breaks out. Aside from the young reporter's experiences in Vienna, the plot moves to exotic locations, in wonderful detail and insightful knowledge of the national character of the Viennese and other Europeans. The historical background is meticulously detailed, but the whole novel is a fun read that is hard to put down. As one other reviewer remarked, the ending leaves the hope of sequel open. The colorful images of Vienna, Paris and other European cities swirl in your head long after you finish the novel -- the sign of a great book. I loved it!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophilos on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
An American in Vienna winds its way through one of the most remarkable eras in history - the passing of the "old world" and the birth of modern Europe and America. It's like you are the proverbial fly on the wall as you are treated to a first-hand look at the Habsburg Empire as it teeters into collapse. The story is told by a young American who is visiting Vienna and is swept into the events that begin WWI. The novel is rich in detail but not bogged down by it. It covers some of the lesser known battles that take place on the Eastern Front as Austria and Germany battle Russia, and brings them vibrantly to life.

So much has been written about WWII, this is a welcome addition for people who love historical fiction and would like to waltz through Vienna, sit at a cafe in WWI Paris, charge into battle and get a front row seat for events that still impact our world today. Most importantly, it is told not by a political scientist but vividly by wonderful characters you will remember for a long time.An American in Vienna
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bengol on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very entertaining read. Part coming of age novel, part romance novel, and part war novel, but above all a very insightful portrayal of Austrian society at the beginning of World War I. The author combines a sure hand with a light touch in revealing the intricacies of the protocols and politics of the Habsburg royal family, the intellectual climate of early 20th century Vienna cafe society, and perspectives on the first world war that will be unfamiliar to most Americans. All of these themes, as well numerous - and often brilliant - historical observations are seamlessly woven into a well paced love story that successfully manages to incorporate the melancholy of the era in which it is set. Clearly the author has a deep affection for both period and place, as well as a prodigious grasp of its history. As a fine work of historical fiction, An American in Vienna is a welcome respite from the "who dunnit" novels that currently dominate the genre. Hopefully we will be reading more from Mr. Wagar in the future.
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By child of literature on November 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for a novel set in Austria which would give me local color and or history for a trip there. It did recount WWI facts readily enough. I didn't find the characters very believable.
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