Excavating Mexican History in Modern-Day Vienna

A Transcontinental Journey in the Footsteps of the Last Emperor of Mexico

How do you imagine being in a place that you’ve never visited, that belongs to the past?

Over the five years I spent writing Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico, I found I needed to bring to life places that I’d never seen. Although many of the locations were embedded in my memory from prior travel, that wasn’t enough. I had to find a way to put myself in those places circa the 19th century.

This would require a different approach. On a normal day, I write in my office …