John Adams Family


The John Adams Book Club meets monthly to discuss a book from the rich range of American literature, fiction and non-fiction, from classics to current bestsellers. Our objective is to explore American culture in its myriad aspects – literature, art, politics, history, race relations, landscape, economy, education, science, technology, society.

Coordinator of the John Adams Book Club is Glen Kendall, an Amsterdam-based American with a life-long passion for books. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, he is also one of the authors in The War We Would Forget: Dartmouth Veterans and the Vietnam War.

Glen coordinates the selection of books and the discussions based on recommendations from the Club members. The discussions are always animated, very interesting and highly enjoyable. We have assembled an excellent group of members with different backgrounds and life experiences. And the refreshments after the discussion allow for more informal conversation.

We discuss one book a month. Members can choose either a Wednesday or Thursday evening. Meetings are at Athenaeum Boekhandel, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam, 19:00 – 20:30, informal discussion and drinks afterwards. In July and August there is only one meeting at a different venue. There is a €50 annual dues for each member. Anyone who is interested in joining can attend a discussion without paying the annual fee.

Book Club Members receive a 10% discount on any books purchased at Athenaeum. And Book Club members can purchase tickets for John Adams Institute events at the reduced Members price.

The size of each discussion group is limited to 15 persons to facilitate discussion. There are currently a few openings for new members. For more information about membership, contact Glen at

During the Covid-19 restrictions, we will be holding virtual discussions. Our first virtual discussion on March 26 was very successful. For April we will read and discuss Moscow Nights by Nigel Cliff. The virtual discussion will commence at 19:00 on Thursday, 16 April.  For more information, contact book club coordinator Glen Kendall.

“Nigel Cliff, as given to emotional flourishes in his prose as Cliburn was at the piano, blends Cold War history and biography. Vivid details are his forte as he evokes the man who went on to inspire more swooning at the Soviet Union’s first international piano and violin competition, in 1958. It was half a year after Sputnik, and though the contest seemed rigged against the U.S., ordinary Soviets went crazy for Cliburn.How he ended up winning makes for a great story about Moscow machinations…” Ann Hulbert, The Atlantic, October 2016


For a list of books we have previously read click here. Books for May and June will be announced soon.