writers The Greatest American Novels  

Ranker Books
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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
543 160
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

The Best Novels Written by Famous Actors The Greatest Graphic Novels and Collected Editions

2
436 141
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
465 187
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
454 136
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
291 141
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
350 176
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
324 102
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
261 113
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
316 91
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
402 99
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
262 124
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
215 69
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
172 111
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
184 85
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

15
223 77
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

The Greatest American Writers of All Time Last Words Written By Famous People In Their Suicide Notes

16
204 72
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

17
173 85
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

18
278 121
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
158 82
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
257 76
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

21
239 67
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

22
275 139
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
154 107
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
141 66
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
197 85
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
146 96
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

27
146 99
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels

28
125 86
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

29
111 45
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

The Best Russian Novels What Is Mankind's Greatest Invention?

30
125 88
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

31
137 69
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
119 59
The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Novels
looksharp added The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper

33
150 90
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

34
70 48
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels

35
82 37
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

36
53 12
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

37
123 78
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

38
192 77
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels

39
116 74
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
78 66
The Portrait of a Lady is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

41
74 39
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

42
89 51
The Help is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

43
64 31
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

The Best Postmodern Novels The Very Best Coconut Water Brands

44
60 30
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
111 80
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

46
62 33
Breakfast at Tiffany's is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote

47
102 75
Fried Green Tomatoes is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg

48
155 70
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Color Purple Alice Walker

49
158 132
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Stand Stephen King

50
93 65
Misery is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added Misery Stephen King