by Betty Berzon
“…a rich account of the fascinating journey of [not only] her own life, [but] the remarkable people and places that punctuated it, and the war that raged inside her…an enthralling, instructive, and ultimately uplifting story.”
-Michelangelo Signorile, author of Queer in America and Life Outside.
Eleanor Roosevelt, Anais Nin, Edith Sitwell, Evelyn Hooker, Paul Monette—such luminaries are only some of the fellow trailblazers whose paths intersected with Betty Berzon in this amazing memoir of the life of one of the most vital and fascinating of our LGBT pioneers.
Surviving Madness unveils the dramatic story of an emergence from mental breakdown and suicide attempts to coming out as a lesbian at age forty, followed by the discovery of life-long love, the triumphant rise to becoming a groundbreaking therapist and a courageous, passionate, resolute activist–and the pioneering author of such classic books on lesbian and gay relationships as Permanent Partners and Positively Gay.
Surviving Madness is the transcendent story of a woman central to the reach for LGBT civil rights in the twentieth century, whose drama-charged life changed forever our own lives today.
This edition of Surviving Madness includes a very special Introduction and Afterword by life partner Terry DeCrescenzo.
First published by The University of Wisconsin Press 2002
Betty Berzon is a treasure to the gay civil rights movement, a pioneering therapist who has shown many the way in battling homophobia. Now, in Surviving Madness, we get a rich account of the fascinating journey of her own life, the remarkable people and places that punctuated it, and the war that raged inside her head within a culture that has often demonized homosexuality. It is an enthralling, instructive, and ultimately uplifting story.
Difficult to imagine that this revered guru of same-sex relationships was for many years the victim of her own internalized homophobia. The highs and lows of Berzon's life are vividly recounted, punctuated with names of friends like Anais Nin, Evelyn Hooker, Paul Monette, and Michael Murphy. It's no spoiler to say that she ultimately found happiness in a long-term relationship, making her tale that much more inspiring. Highly recommended.