Logo   Books about New England
From the writing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620, New Englanders have always been good writers. Many are now world-famous.



Most famous of the books about New England life is perhaps Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851). Though Melville was a New Yorker, his great novel of ambition, will, and struggle with the sea and its creatures is a New England classic.

Two Years Before the Mast (1840), by Richard Henry Dana, with its descriptions of shipboard life, had an important influence on Melville.

The Bostonians (1886), Henry James' novel of Boston manners, is as different from these seafaring books of Melville and Dana as one book can be from another.

For more reading on Bostonians, pick up John P. Marquand's The Late George Apley (1937), which is stylistically similar.

To get the flavor of 17th-century New England, read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), a novel of sin and repentance among the Puritans.

The Last Puritan (1936), by George Santayana, takes Puritan development to its very end by describing a 20th-century Harvard man, descended from Puritans, who still lives by their ideals.

Though Mark Twain's works mostly recall his boyhood in Missouri, you're sure to enjoy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), in which a shrewd Yankee transported back to the days of chivalry shows the knights a thing or two.

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868-69) is a favorite among young visitors to New England, who can even visit the Alcott homestead in Concord MA. Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886) are sequels.

Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854), the journal of observations and opinions written during his solitary sojourn (1845-47) on Walden Pond in Concord MA, is perhaps the best-known book on New England. Few people know that Thoreau wrote several other books of New England observations, including The Maine Woods and Cape Cod.

For up-to-date thrills set in Boston and New England, pick up any of the "Spencer" thrillers written by Robert B Parker.

Jaws, by Peter Benchley, is the novel from which the popular motion picture was made.

Interested in lobsters? The book for you is Lobster - A Global History, by Elisabeth Townsend. More...

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Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott, author
of Little Women.

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