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,


For November, in conjunction with his upcoming presentation to the John Adams Institute on November 20, we will read and discuss George Packer’s Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century.

“Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America’s greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. His story is thus the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence.” – Goodreads

November 13 and 14
Athenaeum Boekhandel
14 – 16 Spui
19:00 – 20:30 with informal conversation afterwards.

For a list of books we have previously read click here.

Click here for a list of books for discussion in September through December, and one outside the regular schedule in January.