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The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

Updated June 14, 2019 37.6k views84 items
A list of the best selling novels in the US during the 1940's as reported by Publishers Weekly. This list ranges from 1940 through 1949. All types of novels have been included and each of them has made it into the top ten. With the introduction of the Nook, Kindle, and iPad with iBooks, reading is hot again. The best selling novels on this list were the most popular books in the United States during the 40's, so you can be sure they're well written and enjoyable (depending, of course, on your preferred literary genre). This list is intended to help long-time readers and newcomers alike with discovering (and rediscovering) some of the best selling novels of all time.
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  • 1
    A Bell for Adano is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    A Bell for Adano

    John Hersey

    First Published1944

    Genres (Book)War novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1944
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  • 2
    A Lion Is in the Streets is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1945
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  • 3
    A Rage to Live is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    A Rage to Live

    John O'Hara

    First Published1949

    Year in the Top Ten: 1949
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  • 4
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    First Published1943

    SubjectsLiterary, Classics

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Years in the Top Ten: 1943, 1944
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  • 5
    And Now Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1942
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  • 6
    Arch of Triumph is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Arch of Triumph

    Erich Maria Remarque

    First Published1945

    Genres (Book)War novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language, German Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1946
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  • 7
    B.F.'s daughter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    B.F.'s daughter

    John P. Marquand
    Year in the Top Ten: 1946
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  • 8
    Captain from Castile is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Captain from Castile

    Samuel Shellabarger
    Year in the Top Ten: 1945
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  • 9
    Cass Timberlane is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Cass Timberlane

    Sinclair Lewis
    Year in the Top Ten: 1945
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  • 10
    Cutlass empire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Cutlass empire

    F. Van Wyck Mason
    Year in the Top Ten: 1949
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  • 11
    Dinner at Antoine's is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Dinner at Antoine's

    Frances Parkinson Keyes

    SubjectsPopular literature

    Years in the Top Ten: 1948, 1949
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  • 12
    Dragon Seed is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Dragon Seed

    Pearl S. Buck

    First Published1942

    SubjectsChina, Literary, Literature, Linguistics, Classics

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction, Novel, Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1942
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  • 13
    Drivin' Woman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1942
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  • 14
    Earth and High Heaven is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Earth and High Heaven

    Gwethalyn Graham

    First Published1944

    SubjectsClassics

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1945
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  • 15
    East Side, West Side is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    East Side, West Side

    Lawrence Ritter
    Year in the Top Ten: 1947
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  • 16
    Father of the bride is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Father of the bride

    Edward Streeter

    First Published1949

    SubjectsFathers and Daughters

    Year in the Top Ten: 1949
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  • 17
    For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    For Whom the Bell Tolls

    Ernest Hemingway

    First Published1940-10-21

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, Spanish Civil War, Military, Erotica

    Genres (Book)War novel, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Years in the Top Ten: 1940, 1941
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  • 18
    Forever Amber is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Forever Amber

    Kathleen Winsor

    First Published1944

    SubjectsWomen, History, England, Great Britain

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Fiction

    Years in the Top Ten: 1944, 1945
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  • 19
    Gentleman's Agreement is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Gentleman's Agreement

    Laura Z. Hobson

    First Published1947

    SubjectsAntisemitism

    Year in the Top Ten: 1947
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  • 20
    Green Dolphin Street is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1944
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  • 21
    H.M. Pulham, Esquire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1941
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  • 22
    High Towers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s
    Year in the Top Ten: 1949
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  • 23
    House Divided is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    House Divided

    Ben Ames Williams

    First Published1947

    Year in the Top Ten: 1947
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  • 24
    How Green Was My Valley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    How Green Was My Valley

    Richard Llewellyn

    First Published1939

    SubjectsWales, Drama, History

    Genres (Book)Drama, Historical fiction, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1940
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  • 25
    Hungry Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Selling Novels of the 1940s

    Hungry Hill

    Daphne du Maurier

    First Published1943

    Genres (Book)Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Year in the Top Ten: 1943
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BooksLiterature