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
573 181
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

Famous Schizophrenics The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels

2
458 156
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

3
495 204
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

4
475 144
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
309 150
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
371 193
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
338 110
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
274 124
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
330 96
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
422 105
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
273 131
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
224 75
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
182 119
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
195 94
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
231 86
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

The Best Novelists of All Time The Greatest Love Poems Ever Written

16
213 80
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
289 128
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

18
178 93
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

19
165 88
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

20
268 82
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

21
248 72
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

22
286 145
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
162 115
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
147 72
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
204 89
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
152 104
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

27
149 107
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels

28
132 91
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

29
116 50
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

The Best Books With Home in the Title The 20 Most Epic Wedding FAILs of All Time

30
127 94
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

31
138 76
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
124 69
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
76 53
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Novels

34
154 96
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

35
60 16
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

36
87 42
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

37
201 82
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels

38
99 57
The Help is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

39
125 85
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

40
118 80
Their Eyes Were Watching God is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

41
82 46
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

42
79 73
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

43
69 36
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

The Greatest American Writers of All Time The Best Romance Novelists of All Time

44
65 34
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
114 85
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

46
166 139
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Stand Stephen King

47
64 39
Breakfast at Tiffany's is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote

48
106 82
Fried Green Tomatoes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Maryellen Elizabeth added Fried Green Tomatoes Fannie Flagg

49
161 76
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Color Purple Alice Walker

50
64 38
Midnight in the Garden of Good... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
chaotic_compass added Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Berendt