america The Greatest American Novels  

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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
655 212
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

2
499 182
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
562 226
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
526 157
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
344 166
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
402 222
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
369 123
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
301 139
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
368 105
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
457 113
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
296 143
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
245 84
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
204 124
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
220 102
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

The Best Novels Written by Famous Actors

15
202 98
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

16
246 93
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

17
236 88
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

18
317 138
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
178 94
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
289 89
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

21
273 80
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time

22
308 156
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
180 122
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
158 81
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
224 93
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
161 111
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels

27
147 98
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

28
160 113
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

The Greatest American Writers of All Time

29
130 53
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

30
138 100
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

31
149 80
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
72 20
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

33
133 75
The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Novels
looksharp added The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper

34
83 60
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels

35
161 102
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

36
95 48
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

37
215 86
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels

38
137 92
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

39
128 85
Their Eyes Were Watching God is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

40
93 52
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

41
107 66
The Help is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

42
82 78
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

The Best Russian Novels

43
70 39
The Prince and the Pauper is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Jonathan Pierce added The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain

44
75 43
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

45
177 149
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Stand Stephen King

46
118 91
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

47
72 42
Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels
chaotic_compass added Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt

48
73 46
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
171 80
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Color Purple Alice Walker

50
44 15
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JanetMarieCooper added The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank