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:

  • Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia by Paul Heer
  • Facilitator: A. J. Manuzzi
    In-person option: Monday, September 18 (Register here).
    Remote option: Tuesday, September 19 (Register here) and Wednesday, September 20 (Register here).
  • Humane: How The United States Abandoned Peace and Re-Invented War by Samuel Moyn
  • Facilitator: Patrick C. Fox
    In-person option: Monday, October 9 (Register Here) Remote Option: Wednesday, October 11 (Register here).
  • How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Sebastian Rosato
  • Facilitator: John Allen Gay
    In-person option: Tuesday, November 14 (Register Here) Remote Option: Wednesday, November 15 (Register here).

Past reading groups include:

  • Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump by Spencer Ackerman
  • 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
  • The Ambassadors: Thinking about Diplomacy from Richelieu to Modern Times by Robert Cooper
  • 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
  • Pacific Power Paradox: American Statecraft and the Fate of the Asian Peace by Van Jackson
  • American Diplomacy by George Kennan
  • Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy by Kishore Mahbubani
  • Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy by Michael J. Mazarr
  • 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
  • Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy by Barry Posen
  • Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of a Post-Cold War Stalemate by Mary Elise Sarotte
  • Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise by Susan L. Shirk
  • 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.