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Matthew Wengert p3

Historian and author of City in Masks Matthew Wengert mentions some favorite novels…

Not all assessments of the state government’s handling of the Spanish Flu epidemic were positive.

The Brisbane Courier of May 13, 1919 had one story: “Infection of the metropolis — The isolation hospital bungle —  Further allegations…after four months’ warning the outbreak of pneumonic influenza in the metropolis found the Queensland government in a lamentable state of unpreparedness.”

But the city pulled together to bring the virus under control. Mr Wengert said the handling of the Spanish Flu epidemic was an uplifting and proud story of the history of Brisbane.

As for Matthew Wengert’s reading, he described himself as a re-reader. He liked True Grit by Charles Portis. He said it was excellent story telling and he had read the novel a couple of times. The story is told from the perspective of Mattie Ross, an elderly churchgoing spinster. She tells how 50 years earlier, in 1878, her father was murdered by a drifter Tom Chaney. The 14 year old Mattie Ross then hires Marshall Rooster Cogburn to enable her to obtain justice.

Another favorite book was All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel by Eric Maria Remarque who was a German veteran of WW1. This 200-page 1929 book describes the extreme mental and physical stress of WW1 soldiers and their difficulty returning to civilian life.

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