A Wild and Precious Life (Hardcover)

A Memoir

By Edie Windsor, Joshua Lyon

St. Martin's Press, 9781250195135, 288pp.

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (10/8/2019)
MP3 CD (10/8/2019)

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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.

About the Author

Edie Windsor was an American LGBT 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, and was considered 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 LGBT Pride March and the runner-up, to Pope Francis, for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Edie died from complications from surgery on September 12, 2017. She is survived by her second wife, Judith Kasen.

Joshua Lyon is an American journalist and author. He is the author of Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict and has ghostwritten several New York Times bestselling memoirs. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir

“She refused to give up on the promise of America. There was not a cynical, defeatist bone in her body. That's especially important for us to remember right now… In this moment when so much hard-fought progress is hanging in the balance it is up to all of us to pick up where she left off. We really owe it to her, to ensure that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights now and forever. It’s easy to go weary fighting these fights, but remember Edie Windsor who took on and won against the U.S. Government. She pushed us all to be better, to stand taller, to dream bigger.” —Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her eulogy

"Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor—and few made as big a difference to America." —Former President Barack Obama

"In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans and their rights" —Former President Bill Clinton

"The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. But sometimes it needs a good kick in the ass from people like Edie Windsor." —Mayor Bill de Blasio