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The Greatest Nonfiction Books of All Time


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  1. 1. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams

    Cover Image for the book The Education of Henry Adams

    The Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams (1838-1918), in early old age, to come to terms with the dawning 20th century, so different from the world of his youth. I... - Wikipedia

      
  2. 2. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes

    Cover Image for the book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

    The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was written by the English economist John Maynard Keynes. The book, generally considered to be his magnum opus, is largely credited with creatin... - Wikipedia

      
  3. 3. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud

    Cover Image for the book The Interpretation of Dreams

    This book introduces Freud's theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation. Dreams, in Freud's view, were all forms of "wish-fulfillment" — attempts by the unconscious to resolve a... - Wikipedia

      
  4. 4. The Second World War by Winston Churchill

    Cover Image for the book The Second World War

    The Second World War is a six-volume history of the period from the end of the First World War to July 1945, written by Sir Winston Churchill. It was largely responsible for him winning (in 1953) t... - Wikipedia

      
  5. 5. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D. Watson

    Cover Image for the book The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

    The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA is an autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA written by James D. Watson and pub... - Wikipedia

      
  6. 6. Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot by T. S. Eliot

    Cover Image for the book Selected Essays of T. S. Eliot

    This is the first large and representative book of T. S. Eliot's prose and it is being published just at the time when Mr. Eliot is returning to America for the Harvard lectures. A year ago Edmund ... - Publisher

      
  7. 7. Confessions by St. Augustine

    Cover Image for the book Confessions

    Confessions is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published ... - Wikipedia

      
  8. 8. The Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus

    Cover Image for the book The Histories of Herodotus

    The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serve... - Wikipedia

      
  9. 9. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

    Cover Image for the book The Prince

    Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was origi... - Wikipedia

      
  10. 10. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

    Cover Image for the book Silent Spring

    Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin in September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement. When Silent Spri... - Wikipedia

      
  11. 11. The Civil War by Shelby Foote

    Cover Image for the book The Civil War

    The Civil War: A Narrative (1958-1974) is a three volume, 2,968-page, 1.2 million-word history of the American Civil War by Shelby Foote. Although previously known as a novelist, Foote is most famo... - Wikipedia

      
  12. 12. The Republic by Plato

    Cover Image for the book The Republic

    The Republic is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written c. 380 B.C.E.. It is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, and Plato's best known work. In Plato's fictional di... - Wikipedia

      
  13. 13. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

    Cover Image for the book Homage to Catalonia

    Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War, written in the first person. - Wikipedia

      
  14. 14. The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

    Cover Image for the book The History of the Peloponnesian War

    The History of the Peloponnesian War is an account of the Peloponnesian War in Ancient Greece, fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens). It was ... - Wikipedia

      
  15. 15. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

    Cover Image for the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is an analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the sociology of knowledge, and popularized the terms paradigm and paradigm... - Wikipedia

      
  16. 16. Essays by Michel de Montaigne

    Cover Image for the book Essays

    Essays is the title given to a collection of 107 essays written by Michel de Montaigne that was first published in 1580. Montaigne essentially invented the literary form of essay, a short subjectiv... - Wikipedia

      
  17. 17. Relativity by Albert Einstein

    Cover Image for the book Relativity

    In clear, concise language that is accessible to all, Albert Einstein's brilliant theory is explained and its implications discussed. - Publisher

      
  18. 18. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

    Cover Image for the book On the Origin of Species

    Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published on Thursday 24 November 1859, is a seminal work of scientific literature considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title... - Wikipedia

      
  19. 19. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E. B. White

    Cover Image for the book The Elements of Style

    The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White, is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known and most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and us... - Wikipedia

      
  20. 20. The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis

    Cover Image for the book The Abolition of Man

    The Abolition of Man is a 1943 book by C. S. Lewis. It is subtitled "Reflections on education with special reference to the teaching of English in the upper forms of schools," and uses that as a st... - Wikipedia

      
  21. 21. The Liberal Imagination by Lionel Trilling

    Cover Image for the book The Liberal Imagination

    The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement abo... - Publisher

      
  22. 22. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

    Cover Image for the book The Right Stuff

    The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar experiments with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the firs... - Wikipedia

      
  23. 23. The Open Society by Karl Popper

    Cover Image for the book The Open Society

    The Open Society and Its Enemies is an influential two-volume work by Karl Popper written during World War II. Failing to find a publisher in the United States, it was first printed in London by Ro... - Wikipedia

      
  24. 24. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Dame Rebecca West

    Cover Image for the book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon

    Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is an 1,181-page travel book written by Dame Rebecca West, published in 1941. The book gives an account of Balkan history and ethnography, and the significance of Nazi... - Wikipedia

      
  25. 25. Black Boy by Richard Wright

    Cover Image for the book Black Boy

    Black Boy is an autobiography by Richard Wright. Depicting Wright's life in great detail, the book tells the story of his troubled youth and race relations in the South. It is about the struggles t... - Wikipedia

      
  26. 26. Witness by Whittaker Chambers

    Cover Image for the book Witness

    First published in 1952, Witness was at once a literary effort, a philosophical treatise, and a bestseller. Whittaker Chambers had just participated in America's trial of the century in which Chamb... - Amazon.com

      
  27. 27. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

    Cover Image for the book In Cold Blood

    On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no appar... - Publisher

      
  28. 28. The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek

    Cover Image for the book The Road to Serfdom

    The Road to Serfdom is a book written by Friedrich von Hayek (recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974) which transformed the landscape of political thought in the 20th ce... - Wikipedia

      
  29. 29. An American Dilemma by Gunnar Myrdal

    Cover Image for the book An American Dilemma

    An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy is a 1944 study of race relations authored by Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal and funded by The Carnegie Foundation. The foundation chose... - Wikipedia

      
  30. 30. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas

    Cover Image for the book Summa Theologica

    The Summa Theologica (Latin: "Summary of Theology" or "Highest Theology") or the Summa Theologiæ or simply the Summa, written 1265–1274) is the most famous work of Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274), al... - Wikipedia

      
  31. 31. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

    Cover Image for the book Speak, Memory

    Speak, Memory is an autobiographical memoir by writer Vladimir Nabokov. The first twelve chapters describe Nabokov's remembrance of his youth in a quasi-aristocratic family living in pre-revolut... - Wikipedia

      
  32. 32. Annals by Cornelius Tacitus

    Cover Image for the book Annals

    The Annals (Latin: Annales) is a history book by Tacitus covering the reign of the four Roman Emperors succeeding to Caesar Augustus. The parts of the work that survived from antiquity cover most o... - Wikipedia

      
  33. 33. Euclid's Elements by Euclid

    Cover Image for the book Euclid's Elements

    Euclid's Elements (Greek: Στοιχεῖα) is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria circa 300 BC. It is a collection of defin... - Wikipedia

      
  34. 34. Principia Mathematica by Issac Newton

    Cover Image for the book Principia Mathematica

    - Wikipedia

      
  35. 35. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant

    Cover Image for the book Critique of Pure Reason

    The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft ) by Immanuel Kant, first published in 1781, second edition 1787, is one of the most influential works in the history of philosophy. ... - Wikipedia

      
  36. 36. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

    Cover Image for the book The Wealth of Nations

    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (generally referred to by the short title The Wealth of Nations) is the magnum opus written by Scottish economist and moral philosophe... - Wikipedia

      
  37. 37. Corpus Aristotelicum by Aristotle

    Cover Image for the book Corpus Aristotelicum

    The Corpus Aristotelicum is the collection of Aristotle's works that have survived from antiquity through Medieval manuscript transmission. These texts, as opposed to Aristotle's lost works, are te... - Wikipedia

      
  38. 38. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Cover Image for the book The Gulag Archipelago

    The Gulag Archipelago is a book by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn based on the Soviet forced labor and concentration camp system. The three-volume book is a massive narrative relying on eyewitness testimon... - Wikipedia

      
  39. 39. A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee

    Cover Image for the book A Study of History

    A Study of History is the 12-volume magnum opus of British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, finished in 1961. In this immensely detailed and complex work, Toynbee traces the birth, growth and decay of ... - Wikipedia

      
  40. 40. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

    Cover Image for the book Up from Slavery

    Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an... - Wikipedia

      
  41. 41. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee

    Cover Image for the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a book with text by American writer James Agee and photographs by American photographer Walker Evans first published in 1941 in the United States. The title is from ... - Wikipedia

      
  42. 42. Das Kapital by Karl Marx

    Cover Image for the book Das Kapital

    Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (German pronunciation: [das kapiˈtaːl]) (Capital, in the English translation) is an extensive treatise on political economy written in German by Karl Ma... - Wikipedia

      
  43. 43. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

    Cover Image for the book Democracy in America

    De la démocratie en Amérique (published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840) is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville on the United States in the 1830s and its strengt... - Wikipedia

      
  44. 44. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Cover Image for the book The Social Contract

    The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is the book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way in which to set up a political community in the face of th... - Wikipedia

      
  45. 45. Samuel Johnson by Walter Jackson Bate

    Cover Image for the book Samuel Johnson

    This 1979 chronicle is seen by critics not only as the definitive life of Dr. Johnson, but as a model of well-researched, lucid, fair--but always affectionate--biography. - Biblio.com

      
  46. 46. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

    Cover Image for the book The Souls of Black Folk

    The Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology, and a cornerstone of African-American literary history. Th... - Wikipedia

      
  47. 47. The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick von Hayek

    Cover Image for the book The Constitution of Liberty

    The Constitution of Liberty is a book by Austrian economist and Nobel Prize recipient Friedrich A. Hayek. The book was first published in 1960 and it is an interpretation of civilization as being m... - Wikipedia

      
  48. 48. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

    Cover Image for the book Capitalism and Freedom

    Capitalism and Freedom is a book by Milton Friedman originally published in 1962 which discusses the role of economic capitalism in liberal society. In accessible, jargon-free language, Friedman... - Wikipedia

      
  49. 49. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

    Cover Image for the book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

    Largely to amuse herself, Gertrude Stein wrote this book in 1932..using as a sounding board her companion Miss Toklas, who had been with her for twenty-five years. The book is full of the most luci... - Wikipedia

      
  50. 50. Good-Bye to All That by Robert Graves

    Cover Image for the book Good-Bye to All That

    Good-bye to All That is the autobiography of Robert Graves. First published in 1929, the work is a landmark anti-war memoir of life in the trenches during World War I. The title expresses Graves' d... - Wikipedia

      

The Lists

  1. 100 Most Influential Books of the Century

    Boston Public Library's list of "The 100 Most Influential Books of the Century". A booklist for Adults. - Boston Public Library

  2. 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library

    From classics and sci-fi to poetry, biographies and books that changed the world… we present the ultimate reading list. - The Telegraph

  3. 50 Greatest Books of All Time

    A list of the 50 greatest books of all time as determined by a panel of secret judges for Globe and Mail. The books are not ranked. - Globe and Mail

  4. 50 Memorable Books from 50 Years of Books to Remember

    A representative selection from over 1500 titles on annual lists of Books to Remember from 1956 to 2005. - The New York Public Library

  5. Books of the Decade

    The 50 books that defined the decade(2000) - The Guardian

  6. Costa Book Award - Best Novel

    The Costa Book Awards are a series of literary awards given to books by authors based in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2005, after which Costa C... - Costa Coffee

  7. Donald Barthelme’s Reading List

    81 books recommended by Author Donald Barthelme to his students at the University of Houston. -

  8. Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

    The 100 greatest adventure books chosen by National Geographic. - National Geographic Adventure Magazine

  9. Great Books of the Western World

    Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volume... - Great Books Foundation

  10. Harvard Book Store Staff's Favorite 100 Books

    A list of the Harvard Book Store staff's top 100 favorite books. - Harvard Book Store

  11. Man Booker Prize

    The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known in short as the Booker Prize, is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citiz... - Man Booker Prize

  12. National Book Award - Fiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prio... - National Book Foundation

  13. National Book Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prio... - National Book Foundation

  14. National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English. - National Book Critics Circle

  15. National Book Critics Circle Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English. - National Book Critics Circle

  16. Paste Magazine's Best Books of the Decade(2000-2009)

    The top 20 best books of the 2000s by Paste Magazine. It includes both fiction and nonfiction. - Paste Magazine

  17. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

    The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the author of the best American work of fiction that year. The winner receives US $15,000 and each of four... - PEN/Faulkner

  18. Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

    The Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author. - Pulitzer Prize

  19. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

    All the books that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction from 1948 to the present. - Pulitzer Prize

  20. Pulitzer Prize for History

    The Pulitzer Prize for History has been awarded since 1917 for a distinguished book upon the history of the United States. Many history books have also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General N... - Pulitzer Prize

  21. Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction

    The Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction has been awarded since 1962 for a distinguished book of non-fiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category. - Pulitzer Prize

  22. Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels

    - Radcliffe Publishing Course

  23. St. John's College Academic Program Reading List

    The reading list that serves as the core of the St. John's College curriculum had its beginnings at Columbia College, at the University of Chicago, and at the University of Virginia. Since 1937, th... - St. John's College

  24. The 100 Best Books of the Decade(2000)

    The Time's list of the 100 Best Books of the 2000s. It's a mix of fiction and nonfiction. - Times

  25. The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century

    The 100 best non-fiction books of all time judged by a panel of historians, authors, publishers, and experts for the National Review Magazine. - National Review

  26. The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List

    The Observer's list of essential fiction from the past 300 years. - The Observer

  27. The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written

    The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today (1998) is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith (1928–1998), a British poet,... - Martin Seymour-Smith

  28. The 10 Best of the Decade(2000)

    Entertainment Weekly's top 10 best books of the 2000s - Entertainment Weekly

  29. The 50 Best Books of the Century

    ISI defined "best" as "volumes of extraordinary reflection and creativity in a traditional form, which heartens us with the knowledge that fine writing and clear-mindedness are perennially possible... - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

  30. The 75 Books Every Man Should Read

    -

  31. The Best Books of the 2000s

    The Best Books of the 2000s according to the Onion AV club. Includes Fiction and Nonfiction. - The Onion AV Club

  32. The Best Southern Nonfiction of All Time

    The best southern United States nonfiction books of all time judged by 130 literary experts and authors. - Oxford American

  33. The Best Southern Novels of All Time

    A list of the best southern novels of all time by Oxford American Magazine judged by 130 experts as well as authors. - Oxford American

  34. The Big Read

    The Big Read was a survey on books carried out by the BBC in the United Kingdom in 2003, where over three quarters of a million votes were received to find the nations best-loved book of all time, ... - BBC

  35. The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction

    - The Modern Library

  36. The Modern Library | 100 Best Novels

    - Modern Library

  37. The New Classics - 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008

    Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 best reads from 1083 to 2008. There's no description of who the judges were. - Entertainment Weekly

  38. The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time

    The list below is from the book The Novel 100: A Ranking of Greatest Novels All Time (Checkmark Books/Facts On File, Inc.: New York, 2004), written by Daniel S. Burt. - The Novel 100

  39. The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time

    The Top 10 book chosen by 125 top writers from the book "The Top 10" edited by J. Peder Zane. - The Top 10 (Book)

  40. TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels

    Time critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. - TIME Magazine

  41. Top 100 Works in World Literature

    The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world litera... - Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute

  42. Top 10 British, Irish or Commonwealth Novels from 1980 to 2005

    The Observer asked 150 literary luminaries to vote for the best British, Irish or Commonwealth novel from 1980 to 2005. - The Observer

  43. What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?

    The New York Times Book Review's editor, Sam Tanenhaus, sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify... - New York Times

What?

I've always loved to read and I'm a big fan of "best of" lists. After reading through about 5 or so "Greatest Books of all Time" lists I got the idea of combining the lists into 1 master list of the greatest books of all time.

A goal of mine is to someday read The first 100 of these books. I built this application to help me generate the list as well as keep track of which books I've already read. You too can track which books you've read if you create an account. You can view details about a specific list or book by clicking the titles.

I had a great time creating this site and I hope you enjoy it. If you have any Comments please


How?

This list is generated from 43 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th.

Where Can I Buy The Books?

If you click on the title of the books you can easily see a summary of what amazon.com has for sale based on price and binding(paperback, hardcover, audio, etc). The prices and availability are updated daily directly from Amazon.com.

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