Reading Groups

Dig into the ideas and history of U.S. foreign policy. Deepen your knowledge of today’s challenges. Study the principles that can animate sound responses in the future. Connect with peers who share your interests.

The John Quincy Adams Society conducts regular reading groups on international affairs. Most groups offer two options for participation: an in-person session at a DC-area restaurant and a digital discussion session aimed at those outside DC or otherwise unable to attend in-person programs. The Society is able to provide copies of the book to eligible participants.

Our reading groups are open to people who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Current undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. universities (including U.S. university students on study abroad at a foreign university) who hope to work in U.S. foreign policy
  • People currently working in U.S. foreign policy
  • People actively seeking work in U.S. foreign policy

Upcoming reading groups:

  • November/December 2022: How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr
    Facilitator: Patrick Fox
    In-person option: Tuesday, November 29 (Register here.)
    Remote option: Wednesday, November 30 (Register here.)
    Remote option: Thursday, December 1 (Full).
  • January 2023: The Ambassadors: Thinking about Diplomacy from Machiavelli to Modern Times by Robert Cooper
    Facilitator: John Allen Gay
    In-person option: TBA
    Remote option: TBA
  • February 2023: TBA
  • March 2023: Book by either Michael Mazarr or Robert Draper on the invasion of Iraq (which has its twentieth anniversary that month)

Past reading groups include:

  • The Twenty Years’ Crisis: 1919–1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations by E. H. Carr
  • How to Go to Work: The Honest Advice No One Ever Tells You at the Start of Your Career by Lucy Clayton and Steve Haines
  • Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy by Christopher Fettweis
  • Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949 by M. Taylor Fravel
  • How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr
  • American Diplomacy by George Kennan
  • Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy by Kishore Mahbubani
  • The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities by John J. Mearsheimer
  • The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O’Rourke
  • The False Promise of Liberal Order: Nostalgia, Delusion, and the Rise of Trump by Patrick Porter
  • Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of a Post-Cold War Stalemate by Mary Elise Sarotte
  • Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy by Stephen Wertheim
  • The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock

The Society is also able to sponsor faculty-led reading groups at universities.