Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.
- Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser. Class inequality, lost love, and personal sacrifice collide in this early-20th-century tale of a young lady’s struggle to make — and remake — her life in the face of tragedy.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The famed poet’s first memoir is as much an account of her own fraught childhood as it is a story of the country’s ongoing problems with racism and casual bigotry.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The glitzy excess of Jazz Age New York forms a lavish backdrop for a brash millionaire’s pursuit of both the woman he desires and the (often elusive) American dream.