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Posted:  |  Updated: 06/08/12 08:38 AM ET

10 Books Every American NEEDS To Read

The following is an excerpt from Stuff Every American Should Know[Quirk Books, $9.95]
by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan.

Most of us read for entertainment, but American thought has long been shaped by powerful works of fiction and nonfiction that help illuminate national issues and concerns. Here are 10 classic works that helped to shape a nation:

Common Sense (1776)
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In language simple enough for everyone to understand, Thomas Paine's pamphlet made a case that the colonies should break with Great Britain. It was so well received that it became a best seller of sorts in its day.
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Filed by Madeleine Crum  |