america The Greatest American Novels  

Ranker Books
Originally by
27.1k votes 1.8k voters 36.1k views 182 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
649 209
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

2
495 179
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
559 225
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
523 155
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
342 164
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
402 218
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
367 122
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
299 137
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
366 105
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
455 113
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
295 142
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
244 84
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
203 124
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
219 102
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

Famous Schizophrenics

15
201 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
245 92
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

17
235 87
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
316 137
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
177 94
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
273 79
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

21
288 89
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels

22
307 155
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
179 122
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
157 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
223 93
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
160 111
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels

27
146 98
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

28
160 112
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

The Best Novelists of All Time

29
129 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 74
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 59
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels

35
161 101
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Best Novels About World War 2

36
94 48
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

37
214 86
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels

38
136 92
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

39
127 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
91 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 Funniest Coffee Table Books Money Can Buy

43
70 38
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
177 148
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
44 15
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JanetMarieCooper added The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank

50
170 80
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Color Purple Alice Walker