Books about Americana

  1. Seabiscuit: An American Legend

    by Laura Hillenbrand
    An inspiring story of the rise of champion racehorse Seabiscuit and his unlikely jockey.

    There's an alternate cover edition, here, Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more ... (Goodreads)

  2. Leaves of Grass

    by Walt Whitman
    An exploration of the relationship between the individual and the divine, viewed through the lens of nature and its rhythms.

    A collection of quintessentially American poems, the seminal work of one of the most influential writers of the nineteenth century. ... (Goodreads)

  3. On the Road: the Original Scroll

    by Jack Kerouac
    A semi-autobiographical novel about the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America, exploring themes of freedom and self-discovery.

    The legendary 1951 scroll draft of, On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early ... (Goodreads)

  4. The 42nd Parallel

    by John Dos Passos
    A novel that follows the lives of various characters as they navigate through the changing landscape of America in the early 20th century.

    With his U.S.A. trilogy, comprising THE 42nd PARALLEL, 1919, and THE BIG MONEY, John Dos Passos is said by many to have written the great American novel. While Fitzgerald and Hemingway were ... (Goodreads)

  5. Blue Highways

    by William Least Heat-Moon
    A pilgrimage across America, exploring the people, places and stories of small towns.

    Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing,, Blue Highways, is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put ... (Goodreads)

  6. Life on the Mississippi

    by Mark Twain
    A journey down the Mississippi River, capturing the beauty and history of the American South.

    A stirring account of America's vanished past... The book that earned Mark Twain his first recognition as a serious writer... Discover the magic of life on the Mississippi. At once a romantic history ... (Goodreads)

  7. Live from New York: An Oral History of Saturday Night Live

    by Tom Shales
    A behind-the-scenes look at the iconic sketch comedy show, featuring interviews with cast members and collaborators.

    James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales's definitive oral history of, Saturday Night Live, hailed as "incredible" (,Vulture,) and "required reading" (,People,). When first published to celebrate the 30th ... (Barnes & Noble)

  8. The Big Rock Candy Mountain

    by Wallace Stegner
    The story of the Mason family's struggles and hardships as they move from place to place in search of a better life.

    Elsa leaves her family home after breaking with her widowed father when he becomes remarried to Elsa's best friend. She moves to North Dakota where she meets Bo Mason, who runs an illegal saloon or ... (Wikipedia)

  9. Shoeless Joe

    by W.P. Kinsella
    A man's magical journey of redemption, as he learns to heal from the past.

    Ray Kinsella lives and farms in Iowa where he grows corn with his wife Annie and their five-year-old daughter Karin. Kinsella is obsessed with the beauty and history of American baseball , ... (Wikipedia)

  10. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    by Bo Hampton
    A retelling of the classic Washington Irving story, a Headless Horseman haunts a small town.

    Please note that this is the graphic novel adaptation of, Sleepy Hollow,. If you're looking for the short story, go, here,. This is Bo Hampton's 1993 Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a faithful adaptation of ... (Goodreads)

  11. The Last Picture Show

    by Larry McMurtry
    A story of a small town in Texas and the inhabitants, capturing a bygone era.

    In 1951 Sonny Crawford and Duane Jackson are high-school seniors and friends in Anarene, Texas , a small declining northern Texas town. Duane is dating Jacy Farrow, who Sonny considers the prettiest ... (Wikipedia)

  12. The Natural

    by Bernard Malamud
    A talented baseball player struggles with his own demons and the pressures of fame.

    Nineteen-year-old Roy Hobbs is traveling by train to Chicago with his manager Sam to try out for the Chicago Cubs . Other passengers include sportswriter Max Mercy, Walter "The Whammer" Whambold, the ... (Wikipedia)

  13. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories

    by Washington Irving
    A collection of classic tales of supernatural events and eerie happenings in a small town.

    In The Sketch-Book (1820-21), Irving explores the uneasy relationship of an American writer to English literary traditions. In two sketches, he experiments with tales transplanted from Europe, ... (Goodreads)

  14. Assassination Vacation

    by Sarah Vowell
    A comedic travelogue exploring the history of presidential assassinations in the United States.

    Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no ... (Goodreads)

  15. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America

    by Bill Bryson
    A humorous journey through rural America, exploring its secrets and idiosyncrasies.

    'I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to' And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn't hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the ... (Goodreads)

  16. Rocket Boys

    by Homer Hickam
    A coming-of-age story of a small-town boy and his journey of pursuing his dreams in rocketry.

    "Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my home town was at war with itself over its children, and that my parents were locked in a kind of bloodless combat over how my brother and ... (Goodreads)

  17. Dead End in Norvelt

    by Jack Gantos
    A humorous coming-of-age story of a boy helping an elderly neighbor and uncovering the secrets of his hometown.

    Dead End in Norvelt takes place during the summer of 1962, after the American schoolboy Jack Gantos fires his father's war trophy, a Japanese sniper rifle , at a war movie playing at a drive-in movie ... (Wikipedia)

  18. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

    by Caroline Fraser
    Biography of pioneering author and her family's hardships, successes, and spirit.


  19. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    by Bill Bryson
    A humorous recounting of a boy's childhood in the 1950s and his fantastical adventures.

    Bryson was born on December 8, 1951. He spent his childhood growing up in Des Moines, Iowa , part of the baby-boom generation born in the post-war years. He describes his early life and his parents, ... (Wikipedia)

  20. The Boys of Summer

    by Roger Kahn
    Exploring the lives of a legendary baseball team and the lasting impact of their championship season.

    This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke ... (Goodreads)

  21. The Road to Los Angeles

    by John Fante
    A young man's journey from Colorado to Los Angeles, facing poverty, love, and betrayal along the way.

    From the Editorial Note: This novel introduces Fante's alter ego Arturo Bandini who reappears in Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), Ask the Dust (1939), and Dreams from Bunker Hill (1982). The ... (Goodreads)

  22. The Americans

    by Robert Frank
    A photographic journey through America in the 1950s, capturing the essence of American culture and society.

    Introduction by Jack Kerouac. There is no question that Robert Frank's The Americans is the most famous and influential photography book ever published. It was 1959 when the book first came out: a ... (Goodreads)

  23. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

    by Rinker Buck
    Exploration of 1800s America through the lens of a modern-day wagon journey.

    In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck's "The Oregon Trail" is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the ... (Goodreads)

  24. The Children's Blizzard

    by David Laskin
    A true story of the deadly blizzard that hit the Great Plains in 1888, focusing on the experiences of children caught in the storm.

    “David Laskin deploys historical fact of the finest grain to tell the story of a monstrous blizzard that caught the settlers of the Great Plains utterly by surprise. . . . This is a book best read ... (Barnes & Noble)

  25. The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures

    by Louis Theroux
    A journalist's journey through the bizarre and unconventional subcultures of America, from porn actors to UFO enthusiasts.

    No, it doesn't get much weirder than this: Thor Templar, Lord Commander of the Earth Protectorate, who claims to have killed ten aliens. Or April, the Neo-Nazi bringing up her twin daughters Lamb and ... (Goodreads)

  26. Coolidge

    by Amity Shlaes
    Biography of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, and his conservative policies that led to economic prosperity.

    Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls. The shy Vermonter, nicknamed "Silent Cal," has long been dismissed as quiet and passive. History has ... (Goodreads)

  27. Summer of '49

    by David Halberstam
    The story of the intense rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox during the 1949 baseball season.

    “Dazzling…A celebration of a vanished heroic age and a ‘simpler America’ ” — New York Times Book Review David Halberstam’s classic chronicle of baseball’s most magnificent season, as seen through the ... (Barnes & Noble)

  28. Church of Marvels

    by Leslie Parry
    Set in 1895 New York, the lives of four people intersect in unexpected ways, revealing secrets and leading to a thrilling conclusion.

    A ravishing first novel, set in vibrant, tumultuous turn-of-the-century New York City, where the lives of four outsiders become entwined, bringing irrevocable change to them all. New York, 1895. ... (Barnes & Noble)

  29. The Heavenly Table

    by Donald Ray Pollock
    Three brothers embark on a violent and darkly humorous journey through the American South during the early 1900s.

    From Donald Ray Pollock, author of the highly acclaimed The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff, comes a dark, gritty, electrifying (and, disturbingly, weirdly funny) new novel that will solidify his ... (Goodreads)

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