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, August and December there is only one meeting at a different venue. There are no regular fees for members. Athenaeum donates the meeting space for which we are most grateful.

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. For more information about membership, contact Glen at,

In July and August 2019 there will be one discussion for each book, followed by an informal meal and general discussion at a private flat in Amsterdam.  There are a limited number of spaces available. For more information send an email to Glen at

We will be reading and discussing three books that explore pieces of the cultural heritage of America.


Tuesday, 3 July Coyote Waits by Tony Hillerman

Within this detective story are glimpses of the living cultural heritage of the Navajos, the largest Native American tribe.  Office Jim Chee and Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn have to incorporate Navajo beliefs into their investigation of the murder of one of their fellow officers.  Hillerman, a former Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, was a prolific author of stories of the Southwest, especially about the Navajos.


Wednesday 25 July Farewell to Mazanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston

This memoir of a family, including a child, incarcerated in a detention camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, juxtaposes the harshness of the camp against the resilience and humanity of the occupants.  They are able to retain their dignity and way of life in this remote camp with very limited resources, under the eyes of armed guards, shut off from the world.  The New York Times called it “…one of the most reprehensible events in the history American treatment of its minorities.”


Wednesday 29 August The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols

“…But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe’s beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. And downstate in the capital, the Anglo water barons and power brokers huddle in urgent conference, intent on destroying that symbol before it destroys their multimillion-dollar land-development schemes. The tale of Milagro’s rising is wildly comic and lovingly told, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, gropes its way toward its own stubborn salvation.” Goodreads


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

The list of books for September through December will be available in August.