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:

  • May 2022: The Irony of American History by Reinhold Niebuhr
    Facilitator: John Allen Gay
    In-person option: Thursday, June 9 (Register here.)
    Remote option: Thursday, June 2 (Register here.)
  • June 2022: The False Promise of Liberal Order: Nostalgia, Delusion and the Rise of Trump by Patrick Porter
    Facilitator: Ryan Nuckles
    In-person option: Wednesday, July 13 (Register here.)
    Remote option: Monday, July 11 (Register here.)
  • July 2022: Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate by Mary Elise Sarotte
    Facilitator: John Allen Gay
    In-person option: DATE TBA
    Remote option: DATE TBA
  • August 2022: The Twenty Years’ Crisis: 1919–1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations by E. H. Carr
    Facilitator: John Allen Gay
    In-person option: DATE TBA
    Remote option: DATE TBA

Past reading groups include:

  • 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
  • Covert Regime Change: America’s Secret Cold War by Lindsey A. O’Rourke
  • 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.