Nathaniel Rich’s new novel is Odds Against Tomorrow; he is also the author of The Mayor's Tongue. He lives in New Orleans. Follow @nathanielrich on Twitter.

Anarchy in the USA

Edward Abbey’s madcap Monkey Wrench Gang inspired the likes of Earth First!—and the incoherent motives of both radical groups led to pretty much nothing.

Mindfreak

Well before he’d even touched LSD, the novelist /pharmaceutical visionary saw the potential of mind control for fun and profit in the The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

American Dreams

In Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov wrote a love letter to the English language, skewered ’50s America, and created a pedophile protagonist who was both loathsome and likeable.

OUTSIDER ART

Long before he wrote the gritty Harlem crime novels that would secure his reputation, the take-no-prisoners author crafted a debut novel so dark it still unsettles.