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News & Reviews

A New York TimeS Notable Book of the year

A Washington POst Best Non-fiction book of the year

A Kirkus Reviews Best book of the year




"First-rate reporting informs this thrilling narrative of hope."

– Kirkus Review (starred)

[A] riveting legal drama, a snapshot in time, when the gay rights movement altered course and public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train... Becker’s most remarkable accomplishment is to weave a spellbinder of a tale that, despite a finale reported around the world, manages to keep readers gripped until the very end.” – The Washington Post

"A stunningly intimate story...Maybe because she's such a versatile reporter, Becker saw the big picture. The fight for marriage equality did not end in a total victory on the Supreme Court steps but triumphed in a higher court, the court of public opinion. It may not be the story she set out to tell, but it's a great one nonetheless.” – The New York Times Sunday Book Review 

"A stunning account of the legal battles stemming from Prop 8...Drawing on five years of unlimited access to Olson and Boies' team, [Becker] has crafted an engrossing narrative filled with details gleaned from fraught backroom conversations and private emails...the history she re-creates using material as dry as court records and judges' written opinions is as taut and suspenseful as a novel. She also zeroes in on human moments. Forcing the Spring stands as not just the definitive account of the battle for same-sex marriage rights but a thrilling and compassionate one, too."  – Entertainment Weekly



"An important and moving historical account that reads like a page-turning legal thriller. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to move our nation forward.”

 – Benjamin Jealous, NAACP former president and CEO 

The incredible access the New York Times investigative reporter had with the principals involved and others will satisfy that political-junky thirst for the backstory swirling around historical events… Becker gives readers an insider’s view of what they watched in real time over four and a half years. Her interviews and observations are presented in a riveting fashion that reminded me of Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters, the first of three books on Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement.” - Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post

A superb behind-the-scenes account of the legal battle to bring marriage equality to the nation.
— Jeffery Toobin,
author of The Nine and The Oath

"Jo Becker is one of America’s very best journalists, and this book showcases her at her finest.

—David Finkel, author of Thank You for Your Service and The Good Soldiers

""An engaging narrative...a thorough, perceptive read...the book stands testament to good political writing and a wealth of information made alive through prose." – Publishers Weekly

"Jo Becker, a gifted journalist, had unparalleled access to the legal drama as well as the human stories of love and courage, and she weaves her witness into a fast-paced narrative of lasting importance.”

 –  David Von Drehle, editor at large for Time magazine

"Quite simply, the book is riveting...Rarely has an episode of one piece of LGBT work been captured in such sharp relief and detail."

Elizabeth Birch, former Executive director of the Human Rights Campaign

"Forcing the Spring is a thrilling book. We know the ending and we still want to read every word. We feel what the plaintiffs feel as their lives are splayed open by Supreme Court justices. We see the parade of witnesses bearing and baring our collective truth, making the case for our humanity from every conceivable point of view...Movements are not made by single historic court cases, even those that generate big historical decisions. But a great writer can portray a brilliant strategist, a few amazing legal minds, some brave plaintiffs and a cast of characters committed to big change at the right time in history, and craft these portraits into a story that is magnificent and unforgettable, and that stands as permanent tribute to all who have gone before. That is what Jo Becker has done."  Torie Osborn, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"[Becker's] writing about the four plaintiffs in the case - the true emotional heroes of his book - is particularly affecting...The real story it tells is how seemingly small moments, occurring by happenstance, when combined with boldness and imagination, can help to change the course of history." –Richard socarides, the New Yorker 

Jo Becker has written a riveting history of one of America's great court cases. She captures our struggle for freedom and its epic sweep just perfectly. Future generations will turn to her book to understand proposition 8 from its inception to its journey to the supreme court, along with special insights into the remarkable Doma Victory led by the legendary edie windsor." - David Mixner, author and LGBT activist and historian