Book Presentation: The Engagement by Sasha Issenberg

On Monday, June 14th at 6pm Central European Time, join Sasha Issenberg for a presentation of his new book The Engagement on the History of Same-Sex Marriage in the US.
Hosted online by the Fondation des États-Unis with comments from Michael Stombolis, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bordeaux, and Dominique Boren, former president of the APGL (Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents).

Practical Information

Date: June 14 Time: 6pm | Facebook Event
Online meeting on Zoom. Please register in advance by clicking on the button below.

Registration required

About the speakers

Sasha Issenberg is the author of three previous books, The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns (2012). He covered the 2008 election as a national political reporter in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, the 2012 election for Slate, the 2016 election for Bloomberg Politics and Businessweek, and 2020 for The Recount. He is the Washington correspondent for Monocle, and has also written
for New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and George, where he served as a contributing editor. He teaches in the political science department at UCLA.

Michael Stambolis is a sociologist at Université Bordeaux-Montaigne. He studies how people interact through political, legal, and scientific institutions to create social change and meaning. He has authored many articles about LGBT issues and authored chapters in Access to Assisted Reproductive Technologies: the case of France and Belgium (2017, ed. Jennifer Merchant), and Procréation, Médecine et Don (2016, ed. Pierre Jouannet), amongst others. His current project analyzes ”experts” in debates over climate change and LGBT families in the United States and France.

Dominique Boren is a gay activist and former president of the APGL, one of the largest gay and lesbian associations in France and a key agent in the fight for equal rights for LGBT families in France.

Social Media

Sasha Issemberg’s Facebook Page

Twitter @Engagement_Book

Instagram @Engagement_Book

Book Sales

Links to all major online booksellers are available at


In this deeply engaging and comprehensively reported work, Sasha Issenberg traces the story of marriage equality from its beginnings as a nearly impossible dream to its current status as an essential right. This engrossing account of social change, political will and human rights arrives at a moment of great urgency. Issenberg’s narrative will inform the efforts of anyone who strives for a more equal country, and touch the heart of anyone who has seen their rights come up for debate.
—Pete Buttigieg, author of Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future

Sasha Issenberg has produced a sweeping, inside history of the first great civil rights triumph of the new century, masterfully weaving together the stories of the pioneering activists and the political and legal strategies they devised into a book of penetrating reportage and analysis that reads like a thriller.

—Joshua Green, author of Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Nationalist Uprising

The Engagement is a sprawlingly rich history of the United States’ most transformative equality movement. Issenberg’s impressively wide-ranging interviews allow him to go beyond the familiar story of trailblazing lawyers to give lesser-known campaign consultants due credit for their critical contributions to bringing about a sea-change in America's acceptance of gay

equality. Likewise, Issenberg’s fair-minded treatment of equality opponents further demonstrates The Engagement will be an enduringly significant work of history.
—David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama and author of Liberty & Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade

At once political history, movement autopsy, legal chronicle, and fly-on-the-wall account, Sasha Issenberg’s latest is one of his most thought-provoking books to date. By reckoning with the stories of those who hoped finally to legalize same-sex marriage, as well as those who were determined to delay, or actively to prevent, such a revolution, Issenberg animates one of this nation’s most recent and dramatic civil rights fights as few others have. And, in doing so, he makes clear not only that its origins were most complex, but also why its legacy remains most uncertain.

—Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan history professor and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy

It conveys social history as the grand drama it really is, full of intimate details, battling personalities, heated court cases, public persuasion.

—The New York Times, Summer Reading Guide

What unfolds over the course of these 928 pages is part Grisham-esque legal thriller, part Sorkin-esque political drama, and part Maddow-esque historical yarn as journalist and editor Issenberg reveals the myriad characters, court cases, and campaigns that led not only to widespread acceptance of same-sex unions but to the ratification of those unions by the highest court in the land.”

—Oprah Magazine, Best LGBTQ Books of 2021

An important story of a great civil rights battle told in exhaustive detail… Issenberg’s research makes the book a vital source.

— Kirkus Reviews


Issenberg lucidly delineates this multifaceted and complex topic and movingly profiles key players…Even readers well-versed in the subject will learn something new. The result is a definitive portrait of a key victory in the battle for LGBTQ rights.

—Publishers Weekly

This is an exhaustive, detailed, and authoritative overview of the fight for marriage equality in the United States…Issenberg's nuanced and insightful reporting brings clarity to this important milestone.


A comprehensive work of civil rights history that is sure to interest political and legal enthusiasts…The author deftly weaves the legislative and legal together to create a full picture for readers.

—Library Journal

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