The Greatest "Missouri" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    The novel follows the journey of a young boy named Huckleberry Finn and a runaway slave named Jim as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft. Set in the American South before the Civil War, the story explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the hypocrisy of society. Through various adventures and encounters with a host of colorful characters, Huck grapples with his personal values, often clashing with the societal norms of the time.

    The 24th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    The book chronicles the mischievous adventures of a young boy living on the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century. The protagonist, a clever and imaginative boy, often finds himself in trouble for his pranks and daydreams. His escapades range from his romance with a young girl, his search for buried treasure, his attendance at his own funeral, and his witnessing of a murder. The narrative captures the essence of childhood and the societal rules of the time.

    The 231st Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    This thrilling novel revolves around the sudden disappearance of a woman on her fifth wedding anniversary. As the investigation unfolds, all evidence points to her husband as the prime suspect. However, the story takes a twist as the wife's diary entries reveal a darker side to their seemingly perfect marriage. The narrative alternates between the husband's present-day perspective and the wife's diary entries, leaving readers in suspense about what truly happened. The book explores themes of deceit, media influence, and the complexities of marriage.

    The 804th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Land Of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

    "The Land of Laughs" is a captivating novel that follows Thomas Abbey, a schoolteacher and aspiring writer, as he embarks on a journey to the hometown of his favorite childhood author. Alongside his girlfriend, they uncover the mysterious and unsettling truth behind the author's stories, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. As they delve deeper into the town's secrets, they are forced to confront their own desires and the consequences of their actions. This thought-provoking tale explores the power of storytelling and the complexities of human nature.

    The 1303rd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Truman by David McCullough

    This biography offers an in-depth examination of the life and presidency of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. The book covers his humble beginnings in Missouri, his service in World War I, his political ascension, and his unexpected presidency following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The narrative also delves into his controversial decisions such as the use of atomic bombs on Japan and his handling of the Cold War, providing a comprehensive and balanced view of Truman's leadership and legacy.

    The 1774th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Stoner by John Williams

    The novel follows the life of William Stoner, a farm boy turned academic, who becomes a professor of English literature at the University of Missouri. Despite his love for teaching and his passion for literature, Stoner's life is marked by a series of personal and professional disappointments, including a loveless marriage, an unsuccessful career, and a failed relationship with a fellow professor. Throughout his life, Stoner remains dedicated to his work, finding solace and purpose in his commitment to the life of the mind.

    The 1977th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Living End by Stanley Elkin

    "The Living End" is a darkly comedic and surreal exploration of the afterlife, where the protagonist, a liquor store owner, finds himself navigating the absurdities and injustices of heaven and hell following a violent robbery that leads to his untimely death. The narrative delves into themes of divine justice, eternal punishment, and the whims of a capricious God, as the protagonist encounters a cast of bizarre characters and experiences the ultimate existential crisis. Through sharp wit and biting satire, the story critiques religious conventions and the human quest for meaning in the face of an often indifferent universe.

    The 3035th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain

    This book is an intimate and detailed account of the life of one of America's most celebrated authors. It covers his childhood in Missouri, his travels across the United States and Europe, and his career as a writer and public speaker. The book offers a candid and often humorous look at his personal life, his family, and his views on politics, religion, and literature. It provides an insightful look into his creative process and the experiences that influenced his most famous works.

    The 3434th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by U. S. Grant

    This book is a first-person account of the life and military career of a notable American Civil War general who later became the 18th President of the United States. It covers his childhood, his time at West Point, his experiences in the Mexican-American War, and his crucial role in the Civil War. The memoir also delves into his presidential years, offering a unique perspective on historical events from a key player's point of view. It is widely praised for its honesty, insight, and clear, straightforward style.

    The 3813th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

    "Days Without End" is a historical fiction novel that follows the life of an Irish immigrant who enlists in the U.S. Army in the 1850s. The protagonist's experiences include fighting in the Indian Wars and the Civil War, as well as falling in love with a fellow soldier. The novel explores themes of identity, love, and survival in a brutal and unforgiving era of American history.

    The 4396th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. A Country Year by Sue Hubbell

    "A Country Year" is a reflective memoir that captures the author's experiences living alone on a remote Ozarks farm after her divorce. Over the course of a year, she intimately describes the rhythms and changes of the natural world around her, from the behavior of bees (which she keeps for a living) to the patterns of the changing seasons. The book is a blend of personal narrative, nature writing, and philosophical musings, offering insights into the challenges and rewards of rural solitude, the intricate beauty of the environment, and the resilience required to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle. Through keen observations and lyrical prose, the author invites readers to share in the quiet joys and profound observations gleaned from a life closely attuned to nature.

    The 4809th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab

    Set during the Great Depression, the novel follows a diverse group of runners from around the world as they compete in a grueling trans-America footrace. The event, organized to capture the public's imagination and offer a large cash prize, attracts a colorful cast of characters, each with their own motivations and backstories. As the competitors endure the punishing 3,000-mile journey, they face not only physical and emotional challenges but also the manipulations of the race's unscrupulous promoter. The story is a testament to human endurance, spirit, and the pursuit of dreams amidst the harshest of circumstances.

    The 5855th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. You Can’t Win by Jack Black

    "You Can’t Win" is a captivating autobiography that delves into the life of a professional thief and safe-cracker in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The narrative provides a gritty, firsthand account of the author's experiences in the criminal underworld, detailing his encounters with various criminals, hobos, and the harsh realities of a life of crime. The book also explores themes of addiction, incarceration, and the author's eventual disillusionment with the criminal lifestyle, leading to his advocacy for prison reform. Through its vivid storytelling and introspective analysis, the memoir offers a window into a bygone era and a subculture often hidden from society’s view.

    The 5974th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Shame Of The Cities by Lincoln Steffens

    "The Shame of the Cities" is a collection of articles that exposes the corrupt political machines controlling American cities in the early 20th century. The book details the author's investigations into municipal corruption in several major U.S. cities, including St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. Through vivid descriptions and meticulous reporting, the author reveals how political graft and business interests have compromised the effectiveness and fairness of local governments, highlighting the deep-seated issues of urban politics and the urgent need for reforms to restore civic integrity and public trust.

    The 5974th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

    Set in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, the story follows a determined, hard-bitten teenage girl who, in the face of her drug-dealing father's disappearance, takes on the responsibility of caring for her two younger siblings and mentally ill mother. When she learns their house will be taken away unless her father shows up for his court date, she embarks on a dangerous journey through the criminal underworld to find him, encountering violence and betrayal along the way.

    The 6267th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton

    This series introduces readers to a world where vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings are legal citizens of the United States, and follows the life of Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner, and supernatural consultant for the police. Set in St. Louis, Missouri, Anita navigates the complexities of her personal and professional life, dealing with various supernatural mysteries, crimes, and often finding herself in the middle of vampire politics. As the series progresses, Anita's powers and relationships with the supernatural community grow, leading her into ever more dangerous and morally ambiguous situations. The blend of urban fantasy, horror, and mystery, along with a strong, complex female protagonist, has garnered a dedicated fan base.

    The 6759th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. The Life Of Langston Hughes by Arnold Rampersad

    This biography delves into the life of Langston Hughes, a pivotal figure in the Harlem Renaissance, exploring his journey as a poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist. It traces Hughes's evolution as a writer and his profound influence on American literature, highlighting his commitment to portraying the joys, struggles, and complexities of African American life. The book also examines Hughes's global travels, his political engagements, and the personal challenges he faced, including racial discrimination and accusations during the McCarthy era, providing a comprehensive view of his enduring legacy in both literature and the fight for civil rights.

    The 7855th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Tender Land: A Family Love Story by Kathleen Finneran

    This memoir is a poignant exploration of grief, family bonds, and the enduring impact of loss. The narrative centers around the author's family, particularly focusing on the aftermath of her younger brother's suicide at the age of fifteen. Through a series of vivid vignettes, the author delves into her family's history, the complexities of their relationships, and the individual struggles each member faces. The book is a tender and introspective journey through memory and mourning, as the author seeks understanding and healing in the wake of tragedy, ultimately painting a deeply moving portrait of love, sorrow, and the human condition.

    The 8326th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Selected Letters Of William James by William James

    "The Selected Letters of William James" offers an intimate glimpse into the thoughts and personal life of one of America's most influential philosophers and psychologists. This collection showcases a wide range of correspondence from James, revealing his reflections on psychological theory, philosophy, religion, and academia, as well as his interactions with other intellectual giants of his time. Through these letters, readers gain a deeper understanding of James's personality, his private doubts, his warm relationships, and the developmental arc of his intellectual pursuits that shaped his contributions to psychology and philosophy.

    The 8745th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Grant by Ron Chernow

    "Grant" is a comprehensive biography of the 18th President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow, the book explores Grant's early life, military career, presidency, and post-presidential years. Chernow portrays Grant as a complex and often misunderstood figure, highlighting his military genius and leadership during the Civil War, as well as his struggles with alcoholism and financial ruin later in life. The book also delves into Grant's relationships with his wife, Julia, and political figures such as Abraham Lincoln and William Tecumseh Sherman. Overall, "Grant" offers a detailed and nuanced portrait of one of America's most significant historical figures.

    The 9184th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor

    "The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters" is a historical fiction novel that follows the journey of a 14-year-old boy and his father as they join a wagon train heading for California during the Gold Rush in 1849. The narrative is filled with humor and adventure, as the pair encounter a variety of colorful characters and dangerous situations along the way. The boy's father is a doctor with a penchant for gambling, which often lands them in trouble, but also provides opportunities for the young protagonist to grow and learn about life, human nature, and himself.

    The 10157th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Theory of War by Joan Brady

    "Theory of War" is a historical novel that tells the story of a young boy who, after the Civil War, is sold by his impoverished mother to a distant cousin as a form of bonded labor. The novel explores the harsh realities of his life as a "white slave" in Kansas, and his struggle for freedom and identity. It also delves into the psychological and societal implications of this form of slavery, presenting a powerful commentary on the human capacity for cruelty and resilience.

    The 10892nd Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard A. DeVoto

    "Across the Wide Missouri" is a historical narrative that explores the American fur trade in the 1830s, focusing on the Rocky Mountain fur trade. The book provides a detailed account of the lives of trappers, traders, Native Americans, and the rich ecosystem they inhabited. The narrative is filled with adventure, danger, and the vast beauty of the American West, painting a vivid picture of a pivotal era in American history.

    The 11128th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain by Justin Kaplan

    This biography offers a dual portrait of Samuel Clemens, the man from Missouri, and Mark Twain, the literary icon. It delves into Clemens' personal life, his struggles, and his successes, as well as his transformation into Mark Twain, the witty and insightful author known worldwide. The book provides a comprehensive view of the man behind the pen, detailing his childhood, his work as a riverboat pilot, his travels, his family life, and his career as a writer.

    The 11128th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Dred Scott Case by Don E. Fehrenbacher

    This book provides an in-depth analysis of the Dred Scott case, a significant event in American history that heightened tensions between the North and South, leading up to the Civil War. The author meticulously examines the political, social, and legal contexts surrounding the case, the individuals involved, and the controversial Supreme Court decision that ruled African Americans were not citizens and could not sue in federal court. The book further explores the case's profound impact on the nation, contributing to the secession of Southern states and the onset of the Civil War.

    The 11241st Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.