Fiction The Greatest American Novels  

Ranker Books
Originally by
38.6k votes 3k voters 60.6k 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
951 391
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

2
892 352
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
F. Scott Fitzgerald

3
777 219
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels

4
731 273
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels
John Steinbeck

5
579 327
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Novels
J. D. Salinger

6
644 168
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Novels
John Steinbeck

7
518 249
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JeremyEbbink added Herman Melville

8
494 174
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Ray Bradbury

9
499 187
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Mark Twain

10
417 213
The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Jack London

11
372 144
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joseph Heller

12
402 218
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Nathaniel Hawthorne

13
300 166
The Sound and the Fury is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Novels
William Faulkner

14
328 135
The Sun Also Rises is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Ernest Hemingway

15
395 134
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Kurt Vonnegut

16
293 132
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added Ernest Hemingway

17
392 108
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added John Steinbeck

18
427 184
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Ernest Hemingway

19
259 184
The Road is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Cormac McCarthy

20
260 140
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Ralph Ellison

21
334 145
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Louisa May Alcott

22
323 144
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added S. E. Hinton

23
403 215
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Margaret Mitchell

24
293 111
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Novels

25
230 114
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Stephen Crane