The Emperor and the Peasant
There was more to World War I than the Western Front. This history juxtaposes the experiences of a monarch and a peasant on the Eastern Front. Franz Josef I, emperor of Austria-Hungary, was the first European leader to declare war in 1914 and was the first to commence firing. Samuel Mozolak was a Slovak laborer who sailed to New York--and fathered twins, taken as babies (and U.S. citizens) to his home village--before being drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army and killed in combat.
The author interprets the views of the war of Franz Josef and his contemporaries Kaiser Wilhelm II and Tsar Nicholas II. Mozolak's story depicts the life of a peasant in an army staffed by aristocrats, and also illustrates the pattern of East European immigration to America.