John Adams Family


Now in its sixth year, the monthly Book Club discussion focuses on one instance of the richness of American literature – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, old and new. Our objective is to explore American culture in its myriad aspects – literature, art, politics, history, race relations, landscape, economy, education, science, technology, society. Discussions are in English.

Glen Kendall, an American living in Amsterdam, coordinates the selection of books and the discussions based on recommendations from the members. We have assembled an excellent group of members with different backgrounds and life experiences. The discussions are always animated, very interesting and highly enjoyable. For a list of books the Club has read, click here.​

During Covid-19, meetings are virtual on Zoom, one Thursday evening a month, beginning at 19:00. There is a €10 annual membership fee to cover the Zoom license and incidental expenses. It is expected that members will participate in at least nine of the twelve monthly discussions. The size of each discussion group is limited. For more information about membership, contact Glen at

Book Club members can purchase tickets for John Adams Institute events at the reduced Members price.

Book For September 2021

In coordination with Russell Shorto’s appearance at the John Adams, we will read and discuss his latest book.

Smalltime is a riveting American immigrant story that travels back to Risorgimento Sicily, to the ancient, dusty, hill-town home of Antonino Sciotto, the author’s great-grandfather, who leaves his wife and children in grinding poverty for a new life -and wife- in a Pennsylvania mining town. It’s a tale of Italian Americans living in squalor and prejudice, and of the rise of Russ, who, like thousands of other young men, created a copy of the American establishment that excluded him. Smalltime draws an intimate portrait of a mobster and his wife, sudden riches, and the toll a lawless life takes on one family. But Smalltime is something more. The author enlists his ailing father-Tony, the mobster’s son-as his partner in the search for their troubled patriarch” Goodreads

Glen’s comment:
Embedded in this wonderful history is also a very interesting narrative on how Shorto decided to write the story and how he went about his research.

Wednesday 22 September on Zoom 19:00 to 20:30.

Thursday 23 September in-person at Athenaeum Boekhandel (Spui 14-16, Amsterdam). Discussion 19:00 – 20:30, informal discussion until 21:30. Fully vaccinated members only, please. Space is limited to 15, please reserve a place by sending Glen an email.