The 10 Greatest American Novels

The 10 Greatest American Novels

Certain to spark a debate among connoisseurs (that means you!), today I list my top 10 picks for the best all-time American literary classics (I know you’ve read them all):


grapes of wrathTHE GRAPES OF WRATH
John Steinbeck’s masterpiece about a family that leaves the dust bowl for the promised land of California only to find that problems never leave—they only change appearance.


adventures of huck finnMOBY DICK

Herman Melville’s classic runs deep on multiple levels, but in the end, its greatness lies in just being a great tale of adventure and quest.



to kill a mockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Harper Lee’s spellbinding tale of growing up as the daughter of a liberal lawyer in a small, racist, southern community.




America’s greatest author, Mark Twain, outdid his earlier work, Tom Sawyer, in this story about the antebellum South and life along the Mississippi River.



an american tragedyAN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
Theodore Dreiser’s story of a poor boy who becomes a socialite and then kills his pregnant working class girlfriend. Based on a true story.



the great gatsbyTHE GREAT GATSBY

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s depiction of glitter and glam in the jazz age (Gatsby has been played by Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio in the films).


atlas shruggedATLAS SHRUGGED

Ayn Rand’s monument to capitalism. The novel contains the greatest monologue in American literature in the chapter: “This Is John Gault Speaking.”




Ken Kesey’s countercultural novel set in an insane asylum. Think Catch-22 but with a sharper edge and wider disdain for authority.



catcher in the ryeTHE CATCHER IN THE RYE
J.D. Salinger probably did not know, nor did he intend, that this novel about a malcontent youth would become an anthem of sorts for generations of rebellious teenagers.



red badge of courageTHE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Stephen Crane’s epic about a soldier who seeks redemption in battle after committing an act of cowardice. The prose is vivid in its battle scenes. Interestingly, Crane, himself, was not born until the Civil War ended.

What are your favorite novels? Tell us below.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.