writers The Greatest American Novels  

Originally by
22.8k votes 1.4k voters 28.6k views 186 items Embed

List Rules Top fiction books written by American authors

List of some of the best American novels from classic writers, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, to more modern names, like Stephen King, with room for the list to grow. There is an option to add your favorite American novels to the list if yours is not already on there.

The list asks the question, "What is the best American novel?" with novels from William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Nathaniel Hawthorne, plus many more that have written great American novels since then. More modern American novels are included, such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Stand by Stephen King, which may be more familiar.
 
American novels can represent the spirit of the age in the United States during the time it was written or the time it was set in. The American novel is written by those who are knowledgeable about the state, culture and even the perspective of those during that time.

Some of these best American novels may have also been on the reading curriculum in school, like Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Be sure to vote not just on your favorite authors, but on your favorite novel of all time, as some authors may be listed twice for other novels that are considered the best.
list ordered by

1
534 156
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

The Best Novels Written by Famous Actors The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

2
429 137
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
453 183
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
444 136
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
288 141
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JeremyEbbink added Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

6
346 175
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

7
319 100
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain

8
260 111
The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Call of the Wild Jack London

9
312 89
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
397 98
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
259 123
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
215 67
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
167 109
The Sound and the Fury is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner

14
181 84
The Sun Also Rises is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

15
221 75
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

The Greatest American Writers of All Time The Best Movies Based on Short Stories

16
201 68
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

17
171 84
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

18
273 119
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

19
157 81
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
250 75
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

21
234 67
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

22
272 138
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
152 106
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
137 65
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane

25
190 85
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
144 93
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

27
146 97
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels

28
125 87
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

29
122 86
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

The Best Russian Novels The 30 Worst Things About Crowded Bars

30
108 45
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

31
135 68
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
119 58
The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Novels
looksharp added The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper

33
147 89
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

34
69 47
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels

35
69 26
The grapes of wrath and other ... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels

36
52 11
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

37
79 36
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

38
74 32
Leaves of Grass is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman

39
75 35
The complete poems is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The complete poems Emily Dickinson

40
122 77
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

41
190 76
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels

42
77 65
The Portrait of a Lady is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

43
89 48
The Help is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

The Best Postmodern Novels The Best Actors in Film History

44
114 74
Their Eyes Were Watching God is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

45
72 38
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

46
62 31
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

47
60 30
The Prince and the Pauper is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Jonathan Pierce added The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain

48
62 32
Breakfast at Tiffany's is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote

49
110 78
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

50
101 72
Fried Green Tomatoes is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg