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Elizabeth Fysh p2

Author Elizabeth Fysh talks about some favorite biographies…

READERSVOICE.COM: When Chairmen were Patriots fleshes out a lot of Queensland history: how the McMaster family took up selections in North West Queensland; and Fergus McMaster’s fighting in places like Villers-Bretonneux in WW1; and how QANTAS helped in WW2. Do you tend to like biographies because of the way they tell a wider history and if so which ones have you liked over the years?

ELIZABETH FYSH: I was having a discussion on this very topic with friends recently and we all agreed that now we are older, we tend to prefer biographies to fiction. One reason may well be because of the historical context that biographies provide. Among those I have specially liked recently have been Clive James’s Unreliable Memoirs, for his depiction of the 50s and 60s in Australia, Grantlee Keiza’s Macquarie for the early Colonial times, Patrick Leigh Fermor: an adventure by Artemis Cooper, particularly for the background of Greece and Crete during WW2.

RV: There is a lot of specific information in the book, but it helps the story, which is concise and well written. Was there any phases of his life for which it was difficult to find specific information, or was there almost too much? 

EF: Yes, there were. Someone said that biographies are ‘a lot of holes tied together with string’ ! The ‘holes’ in this one concerned what Fergus really thought of McGinness’s shock resignation; his war experiences; his second marriage and his disagreements with his brother Hugh on the pastoral front.

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