American Classic Books Top 100

When it comes to classic literature, the United States has produced some of the most celebrated works in history. To celebrate these important works, we’ve compiled a list of the top 100 American classic books ever written.

#1 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a masterpiece of American literature. Told from the point of view of a young girl, the novel explores themes of racial injustice, poverty, and prejudice in the Deep South during the 1930s.

#2 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald’s iconic novel is a must-read for anyone interested in 20th-century American literature. Set in the roaring twenties, the novel follows the enigmatic Jay Gatsby as he navigates love, wealth, and social stratification in the Jazz Age.

#3 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Melville’s epic novel is a sprawling exploration of the human condition. The novel’s themes include revenge, obsession, and the nature of evil, all presented within a nautical adventure tale that stands as a monument to American literature.

#4 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Twain’s classic novel remains a staple of American literature. Huckleberry Finn’s journey down the Mississippi River is a story of growth, self-discovery, and the ongoing struggle for freedom in pre-Civil War America.

#5 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Salinger’s novel remains one of the most influential works of American literature. Told from the point of view of Holden Caulfield, the novel explores themes of alienation, loss, and the quest for self-discovery.

#6 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Faulkner’s novel is a complex exploration of the Compson family, a once-proud Southern clan in decline. The novel’s structure and use of language break new ground in American literature, and the characters’ tragic struggles stand as a testament to Faulkner’s skill as a writer.

#7 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s novel is a brutal yet beautiful exploration of poverty and family. The novel’s main characters, the Joad family, are forced to leave their Oklahoma farm during the Dust Bowl era and make their way to California in search of work and a better life.

#8 Beloved by Toni Morrison

Morrison’s novel is a haunting exploration of slavery and the legacy it leaves on African Americans. Set after the Civil War, the novel follows a former slave named Sethe and the ghost of her deceased child, who returns to haunt her.

#9 On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac’s novel is a celebration of the Beat generation, a group of post-World War II writers who rejected mainstream society and embraced alternative lifestyles. The novel’s main character, Sal Paradise, travels across America in search of adventure, sex, and spiritual enlightenment.

#10 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway

Hemingway’s novel is a classic example of the “lost generation” of writers who emerged in the aftermath of World War I. The novel’s main characters, a group of expatriates living in Paris, are united by their aimless, hedonistic lifestyle and their sense of disillusionment with the world around them.

These ten books, along with the other 90 on this list, stand as remarkable achievements of American literature. Whether you’re interested in exploring the rich history of American literature or just looking for a good read, these books are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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