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Books That Shaped America

The Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.” The initial books in the exhibition are displayed below.

“This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

We hope you will view the list, nominate other titles, and most importantly, choose to read and discuss some of the books on this list, reflecting America’s unique and extraordinary literary heritage, which the Library of Congress makes available to the world.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Alcoholics Anonymous; anonymous; 1939
American Cookery; Amelia Simmons; 1796
The American Woman's Home Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe 1869
And the Band Played On Randy Shilts 1987
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand 1957
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X and Alex Haley 1965
Beloved Toni Morrison 1987
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown 1970
The Call of the Wild Jack London 1903
The Cat in the Hat Dr. Seuss 1957
Catch-22 Joseph Heller 1961
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 1951
Charlotte's Web E.B. White 1952
Common Sense Thomas Paine 1776
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care Benjamin Spock 1946
Cosmos Carl Sagan 1980
A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible anonymous 1788
The Double Helix James D. Watson 1968
The Education of Henry Adams Henry Adams 1907
Experiments and Observations on Electricity Benjamin Franklin 1751
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury 1953
Family Limitation Margaret Sanger 1914
The Federalist anonymous 1787
The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan 1963
The Fire Next Time James Baldwin 1963
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway 1940
Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell 1936
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown 1947
A Grammatical Institute of the English Language Noah Webster 1783
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck 1939
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925
Harriet, the Moses of Her People Sarah H. Bradford 1901
The History of Standard Oil Ida Tarbell 1904
History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark Meriwether Lewis 1814
How the Other Half Lives Jacob Riis 1890
How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie 1936
Howl Allen Ginsberg 1956
The Iceman Cometh Eugene O'Neill 1946
Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures Federal Writers' Project 1937
In Cold Blood Truman Capote 1966
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison 1952
Joy of Cooking Irma Rombauer 1931
The Jungle Upton Sinclair 1906
Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman 1855
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving 1820
Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy Louisa May Alcott 1868
Mark, the Match Boy Horatio Alger Jr. 1869
McGuffey's Newly Revised Eclectic Primer William Holmes McGuffey 1836
Moby-Dick; or The Whale Herman Melville 1851
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass 1845
Native Son Richard Wright 1940
New England Primer anonymous 1803
New Hampshire Robert Frost 1923
On the Road Jack Kerouac 1957
Our Bodies, Ourselves Boston Women's Health Book Collective 1971
Our Town: A Play Thornton Wilder 1938
Peter Parley's Universal History Samuel Goodrich 1837
Poems Emily Dickinson 1890
Poor Richard Improved and The Way to Wealth Benjamin Franklin 1758
Pragmatism William James 1907
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. Benjamin Franklin 1793
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane 1895
Red Harvest Dashiell Hammett 1929
Riders of the Purple Sage Zane Grey 1912
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne 1850
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male Alfred C. Kinsey 1948
Silent Spring Rachel Carson 1962
The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats 1962
The Souls of Black Folk W.E.B. Du Bois 1903
The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner 1929
Spring and All William Carlos Williams 1923
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein 1961
A Street in Bronzeville Gwendolyn Brooks 1945
A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams 1947
A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America Christopher Colles 1789
Tarzan of the Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 1937
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 1960
A Treasury of American Folklore Benjamin A. Botkin 1944
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith 1943
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852
Unsafe at Any Speed Ralph Nader 1965
Walden; or Life in the Woods Henry David Thoreau 1854
The Weary Blues Langston Hughes 1925
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak 1963
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum 1900
The Words of Cesar Chavez Cesar Chavez 2002

Feel free to argue, add your own, etc.

This didn't copy well - the info ran together.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to dov12348 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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