Books That Shaped America

What do Ben Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood have in common?

They are all part of The Library of Congress’ recently announced new exhibit of 88 Books That Shaped America.

“The Books That Shaped America exhibition marks a starting point—a way to spark a national conversation on books and their importance in Americans’ lives, and, indeed, in shaping our nation. The titles featured here (by American authors) have had a profound effect on American life, but they are by no means the only influential ones. And they are certainly not a list of the ‘best’ American books, because that, again, is a matter of strong and diverse opinion. Curators and experts from throughout the Library of Congress contributed their choices, but there was much debate—even agony—in having to remove worthy titles from a much larger list in order to accommodate the physical constraints of (the) exhibition space. Some of the titles on display have been the source of great controversy, even derision, yet they nevertheless shaped Americans’ views of their world and often the world’s view of the United States.”

Agree with their choices? Disagree? Tell the Library of Congress what you think!


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