A Wild and Precious Life

A Wild and Precious Life

by Edie Windsor, Joshua Lyon


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A lively, intimate memoir from an icon of the gay rights movement, describing gay life in 1950s and 60s New York City and her longtime activism which opened the door for marriage equality.

Edie Windsor became internationally famous when she sued the US government, seeking federal recognition for her marriage to Thea Spyer, her partner of more than four decades. The Supreme Court ruled in Edie’s favor, a landmark victory that set the stage for full marriage equality in the US. Beloved by the LGBTQ community, Edie embraced her new role as an icon; she had already been living an extraordinary and groundbreaking life for decades.

In this memoir, which she began before passing away in 2017 and completed by her co-writer, Edie recounts her childhood in Philadelphia, her realization that she was a lesbian, and her active social life in Greenwich Village's electrifying underground gay scene during the 1950s. Edie was also one of a select group of trailblazing women in computing, working her way up the ladder at IBM and achieving their highest technical ranking while developing software. In the early 1960s Edie met Thea, an expat from a Dutch Jewish family that fled the Nazis, and a widely respected clinical psychologist. Their partnership lasted forty-four years, until Thea died in 2009. Edie found love again, marrying Judith Kasen-Windsor in 2016.

A Wild and Precious Life is remarkable portrait of an iconic woman, gay life in New York in the second half of the twentieth century, and the rise of LGBT activism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250195135
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 73,163
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

EDIE WINDSOR was an American LGBTQ rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which successfully overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which provided that the term "spouse" only applied to marriages between a man and woman—a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States. In 2013 she was the Grand Marshal of the New York City LGBTQ Pride March and the runner-up, to Pope Francis, for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Edie passed away peacefully on September 12, 2017. She is survived by her second wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor.

JOSHUA LYON (co-writer) is the author of Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict and has ghostwritten several New York Times bestselling and award-winning LGBTQ memoirs. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I was extremely lucky, Edie Windsor was my friend. I don't know enough superlatives to describe how glorious this book is. I heard Edie's parts in her voice. I read stories that I'd heard her tell, mixed with stories I never heard. I read it very slowly, savoring every word. I adored how Josh Lyons rounded out each chapter. The book is very unique and totally honored Edie. Even without my personal "Edie bias", this book is so well done. It is spectacular. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, get one now! You will love it!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Edie Windsor really did lead a wild and precious life! Edie had a brilliant mind, a passion for life, and the stubbornness you need to make love last. She became internationally famous for taking on the supreme court regarding discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but while incredibly important, that case came in the last decade of her life and this book focuses more on all the living she did both before and after. Given where we find ourselves today and that Edie literally had to fight the government for the rights many heterosexuals take for granted, I believe this is a particularly poignant and timely story with love and discrimination the two recurring and intertwined themes. As she passed away before this book was completed, her co-author wisely chose to intersperse the chapters with tidbits from her loved ones as well as history. Edie lived from The Great Depression though wars, the civil rights movement, and the beginning of AIDS and it was interesting to hear her take on major historical events. So many of us need the reminder of the stories of others throughout history. The story of a gay woman who had to hide who she was and who she loved, who excelled in a field largely dominated by men, who still managed to be bold and unapologetic, is one for us all. I was provided an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.