American Fiction

The story of the USA is in its literature. American fiction books and novels are a rich tapestry of thoughts about the experience of living in America, from the earliest colonial days of the country to contemporary, postmodern times. Although its roots are in the tradition of English literature, the category of American fiction books has taken on its own distinct character, focusing on themes around capitalism and patriotism, finding hope in tragedy, and presenting personal interpretations of the American dream.

In a broader sense, American fiction books cover a wide range of genres that reflect the times in which they were written. The first truly unique fiction to come out of the new nation may have started with the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving in the early 1800s. Irving popularized words such as Gotham (New York City) and knickerbocker (a fictional character in the satirical The History of New York). Great vintage American fiction books came out of the abolitionist era, with Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, which at the time was an important anti-slavery text. After the Civil War, American novels came to the forefront, with books such as The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Perhaps no author was more distinctly American than Mark Twain, whose novels are still read around the world and translated into hundreds of languages. The era after the end of World War I brought us works of disillusionment and sacrifice by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Later American fiction books dealt with the nation going through the Great Depression and featured the works of John Steinbeck and Henry Miller. World War II influenced the work of Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Updike.

Buy American fiction books that cover every period in history, whether its works from centuries ago or novels written within the last decade. Our sellers' collections include rare editions, books signed by the author, or illustrated, unique tomes that are perfect for displaying in your home.