Novels The Greatest American Novels  

Ranker Books
Originally by
40.8k votes 3.4k voters 68.5k views 185 items

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.
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page. Prices & inventory are accurate as of publish date.
list ordered by
1
979 391
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels
F. Scott Fitzgerald
2
1,028 428
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
3
838 241
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
4
777 293
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels
John Steinbeck
5
526 204
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Mark Twain
6
632 351
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Novels
J. D. Salinger
7
689 181
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Novels
John Steinbeck
8
550 263
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JeremyEbbink added Herman Melville
9
529 195
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Ray Bradbury
10
444 229
The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Jack London
11
392 159
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joseph Heller
12
312 140
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Ernest Hemingway
13
464 188
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Ernest Hemingway
14
425 236
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Nathaniel Hawthorne
15
318 175
The Sound and the Fury is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
William Faulkner
16
348 148
The Sun Also Rises is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Ernest Hemingway
17
421 144
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Kurt Vonnegut
18
414 113
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added John Steinbeck
19
277 143
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Ralph Ellison
20
351 150
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Louisa May Alcott
21
339 156
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added S. E. Hinton
22
420 222
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Margaret Mitchell
23
275 190
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Cormac McCarthy
24
241 119
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Stephen Crane
25
326 134
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Ernest Hemingway