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
675 219
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

2
511 190
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
583 231
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
536 161
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
354 169
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
418 227
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
379 127
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
311 144
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
376 108
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
468 115
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
303 148
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
255 87
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
210 125
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
228 103
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
213 99
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
326 140
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

17
251 95
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

18
239 93
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

19
182 94
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
298 91
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

21
275 81
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

The Best Novels Ever Written

22
311 160
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
185 126
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
165 83
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
232 94
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
149 98
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

27
162 113
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels

28
161 116
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
131 55
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

30
141 103
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

31
153 81
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
87 60
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Novels

33
138 78
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
76 23
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

35
164 103
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

Last Words Written By Famous People In Their Suicide Notes

36
97 49
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

37
219 88
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels

38
98 55
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

39
129 86
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
137 94
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

41
108 67
The Help is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

42
80 44
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

The Best Russian Novels

43
82 80
The Portrait of a Lady is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

44
72 40
The Prince and the Pauper is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Jonathan Pierce added The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain

45
181 153
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Stand Stephen King

46
175 80
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Color Purple Alice Walker

47
118 92
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

48
74 45
Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Novels
chaotic_compass added Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt

49
113 90
Do Androids Dream of Electric ... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels

50
63 37
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
No Country for Old Men Cormac McCarthy