Library of Congress

National Book Festival

The Library of Congress > National Book Festival > 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, discuss it with your friends and family, 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.

Visit the online exhibition