Cover Image: Queen of the Hurricanes

Queen of the Hurricanes

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Member Reviews

This book had an incredibly interesting premise and I was really looking forward to hearing more about the woman who had been a pioneer both in engineering and in the aerospace industry.  

I received an ARC in audible format thanks to #NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.  

I believe this book might be pretty good if read in text mode, but I found it to be incredibly difficult to listen to in audible format.  There are far too many footnote notations that are read each time, probably about one every 3-5 sentences, which completely disrupts the flow of the story.  The reader also inexplicably decides to describe each photograph that is included in the book - when I listen to an audible book, I know I'm missing some of the visual content and having photographs just makes that worse, and doesnt' really add to the reading experience.

I also found that it took too long (especially given all of the flow issues described above) to get into who this incredible woman was, what made her tick, etc. Too much long drawn out introduction/prologue, etc.  I finally gave up and was not able to finish this book. 

I can't in all honesty recommend the audible version, but I do think that the written book might be interesting.
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Queen of Hurricanes is a neat nonfic about an obscure but awesome Canadian woman whose life spanned much of the 20th century. I was especially interested in her early life and engineering career, but so much of the book is rather tedious notes about various community/political workings--which yes, is important but it was quite tedious.

The crucial part of this book is that while her accomplishments are listed and shined upon, the author and notes from Elsie herself note that she had a great start to life, supportive family, and didn't actually face many issues in her engineering career. She seemed to have a vibrant and magnetic personality, she was easy to like, and we don't often hear how being likeable can be a privilege in itself. This is an incredible book that highlights feminism and an awesome woman in history. 

The narrator is great! She's easy to listen to. The footnotes are available online which is cool, but it was pretty annoying that the footnote numbers are narrated as they come up. There's also over an hour at the end of bibliography. 

Thank you NetGalley, Second Story Press, and ECW Audio for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review!
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Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill by Dr. Crystal Sissons
Narrated by: Dawn Harvey
Publication Date: July 20, 2020
Description from NetGalley...
“Engineer. Women’s rights activist. Airplane designer. Elsie MacGill’s life spanned much of the 20th century, and it was a life full of firsts. While she was still a child, Canadian women won the right to vote for the first time. In the 1920s, she was the first woman to graduate in engineering from the University of Toronto and to later earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Elsie would live to see the first person walk on the moon, and she would become the first woman aircraft designer in the world. 

Elsie’s twin passions for engineering and feminism drove her throughout her life. They inspired her to work for more than fifty years in her field and to become a tireless advocate for women’s rights. She supported women’s struggles and achievements, enshrining their rights and expanding their opportunities.

Elsie’s work during the Second World War on aircraft designs and production made her a popular cartoon character called the “Queen of the Hurricanes.” She continued her achievements into the 1970s as an activist, changing the lives of women in Canada for the better. A truly inspiring woman for the ages.”
Thank you to @NetGalley @_secondstory @ecwaudio for the audiobook ALC in return for my honest review.
My thoughts...
As a book this was fantastic. As an audiobook, it was only okay. It was just a challenging biography to listen to when the story was interrupted by “footnote, chapter 4, number 30...” throughout. BUT, the story of the Canadian Elizabeth Muriel “Elsie” Gregory MacGill was inspiring and incredible. Not only was she a pioneer and completely intertwined in Canada’s aircraft industry and history, she had to endure a physical disability. She was told that she would never walk again, but she fought it. On top of all these, she followed her mother’s social justice footsteps (her mother was the pioneering suffragette and judge Helen MacGill) receiving an appointment to the landmark Royal Commission on the Status of Women in the late 1960s. Proud to be a woman and a Canadian.
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