Books That Shaped America

After a certain amount of wrangling the Library of Congress staff members have chosen the one hundred books of the twentieth century that most shaped America. If you don’t read them, you’ll never know what you’ve missed.

When these books were first published they were shocking. They made us look behind closed doors and into discretion’s we thought best covered up.  These masterpieces shook up our deepest beliefs. They made us ashamed of racism, greed and narrow mindedness. They gave us a look into the eyes of poverty, abuse, sexuality and other things we thought best covered up. They changed the way Americans looked at the world and themselves. They removed the blinders from our eyes and made us question our principles. They changed our world. They showed us that nothing is set in stone and things can be changed. The list offers something for everyone of all races and cultures.

The following is a list of some of the books I have read out of the one hundred chosen books. If you would like to read them, all can be found at your  library. I’m not including those I haven’t read, but I plan to make a list for my files and read them in the future.

Frederick Douglas: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar named Desire

J.D. Salinger: Catcher in the Rye

Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Harper Lee: To Kill A Mocking Bird

John Stienbeck: the Grapes of Wrath

E.B.White: Charlotte’s Web

William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

Robert E. Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land

Earnest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Benjamin A. Botkin: A Treasury of American Folklore

Dee Brown: Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee

Rachel Carson: Silent Spring

Zora Neale Hurston: Their-Eyes-were Watching God

Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Souls of Black Folk

Jack London: The Call of the Wild

Robert Frost: New Hampshire

Langston Hughs: The Weary Blues

Nathaniel Hathorne: The Scarler Letter

Zane Grey: Riders of the Purple Sage

Mark Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Emily Dickenson: Poems

Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan of the Apes

Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Sarah H. Bradford: Harriet, the Moses of Her People

Henry David Thoreau: Waldens Pond

Louisa May Alcott:  Little Women

F.Scott-Fitzgerald: The Great Gadsby

Washington Irving: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Stephen Crane: The Red Badge of Courage

L. Frank  Baum: The Wonderful World of Oz

I hope you enjoy these wonderful books as much as I have. Some of my most pleasurable moments have been spent with a good book in a shady hammock or in my comfy porch swing. I can’t wait for spring and reading out under the trees, right now my favorite reading spot is curled up on my living room couch. Have fun y’all.

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13 Comments
  1. Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:05 am

    I think the Bible also shape America

  2. Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I agree with the above comment.

  3. Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

    What a great list. You are right about the pleasure they bring.

  4. Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:50 am

    What a great list. You are correct about the pleasure these books bring.

  5. Posted March 5, 2013 at 1:18 am

    I’d better get around to reading MORE of them. thanks for great share…I like the continuing lists that they have added to required reading in American Literature . There is nothing like our American books. :)

  6. Posted March 5, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Cool and like it!

  7. Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I have read some of those. I still have not either read or seen the movie Gone with the Wind and I have been meaning to for years.

  9. Posted March 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Great list of books, some I have read others I have yet to read!
    Thanks for reminding us all of their importance!!

  10. Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I love reading some on the list are hard going, I agree with the comment about the Bible and with you about the hammock ^_^

  11. Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Ruby, thanks for the great list of books, I have read most of the books on your list :) .

  12. Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Sure did bring back some memories. Great article

  13. Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Really, they helped America to shape in future. Good list of the books.

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