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The "Mad Men" Reading List


UPDATE:  Click here to see the Official New York Public Library and AMC Mad Men Reading List!

You might remember my original list, which will always be available here

This revised list will be easier to follow and, like my previous list, it will be updated as books appear in new episodes. Details on literary references will continue in the comments field. As mentioned in my original blog post, some of the books on the list are featured more prominently in the series than others, but all are a great way to gain insight into the episodes and the social and cultural times in which the series is set.

You might also be interested in taking a look at the Sally Draper reading list, the Glen Bishop reading list, the Mad Men Mystery Solved blog post, and my Mad Men and Sally Draper reading lists on BiblioCommons.

For #MadMenReading related discussions and other news, you can follow me and Mid-Manhattan Library on Twitter and Facebook.  
Lastly, as any ad man will tell you, a picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure to stop by Mid-Manhattan Library's Art and Picture Collections for all your visual resource needs!
The conversation is about to begin again. Pour yourself another scotch, and enjoy! 
Jump to Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6

Season 7

Episode 14 - "Person to Person"

The Goodbye Look / Ross MacDonald (click here for more details)




Conversations on Living: 2nd Series / Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality / Frederick S. Perls (click here for more details)



Episode 13 - "The Milk and Honey Route" (click here for more details)

The Godfather / Mario Puzo




The Woman of Rome / Alberto Moravia




Hawaii / James MichenerThe Andromeda Strain / Michael Crichton




Episode 12 - "Lost Horizon"

Dora, An Analysis of A Case of Hysteria Sigmond Freud




On the Road / Jack Kerouac (click here for more details)




Episode 8 - "Severance" 

Mildred Pierce / James M. CainU.S.A. Trilogy / John Dos Passos (click here for more details)




Episode 6 - "The Strategy"

Katie Mulholland / Catherine Cookson (click here for more details)




The Ceremony of Innocence / Ronald Ribman




Episode 4 - "The Monolith"

Portnoy's Complaint / Philip Roth




From the Earth to the Moon / Jules Verne (click here for more details)




Listen to the Warm / Rod McKuen (click here for more details)




The Detective / Roderick ThorpShadow of a Bull Maia Wojciechowska (click here and here for more details)



Episode 3 - "Field Trip"

The American Way of Death / Jessica Mitford




Frankenstein / Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Dracula / Bram Stoker (click here for more details)




Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book: For the Hostess and Host of Tomorrow




Episode 1 - "Time Zones"

A Small Town in GermanyJohn Le Carré (click here for more details)




The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Mark Twain (click here for more details)




Season 7 Promotional Cast Photo

 The Penny Wars / Elliott Baker (click here for more information)




Season 6

Episode 12 - "The Quality of Mercy" (click here for more details)

Evolution / Ruth E. Moore (click here for more details) 




Episode 11 - "Favors"

Nicholas and Alexandra Robert K. Massie (click here for more details)




Episode 10 - "A Tale of Two Cities" (click here for more details)

Bhagavad Gita (click here for more details)




How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success In Selling / Frank Bettger (click here for more details)




Episode 8 - "The Crash"

Rosemary's Baby / Ira levin




I Ching : The Book of Change / John Blofeld




Valley of the Dolls /  Jacqueline Susann (click here for more details)




Episode 7 - "Man With a Plan"

The Last Picture Show / Larry McMurtry




Episode 6 - "For Immediate Release"

Something / Ralph Waldo Emerson (click here for more details)




Sterling's Gold / Roger Sterling




Episode 5 - "The Flood"

Topaz / Leon Uris




Episode 1 and 2- "The Doorway"


The Inferno / Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi (click here for more details)




Julius Caesar / William Shakespeare




Season 5

Episode 13 - "The Phantom"

    Third Girl / Agatha Christie (click here for more details)





Twice 22 / Ray Bradbury, Tai-Pan / James Clavell, The Smokejumpers / Randle M. Hurst, The Sunday Gentleman / Irving Wallace (click here for more details)




Episode 12 - "Commissions and Fees"

Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion / Herbert Aptheker (click here for more details)




Episode 11 - "The Other Woman"

Goodnight Moon / Margaret Wise Brown




Nature / Ralph Waldo Emerson (Click here for more details)




Episode 9 - "Dark Shadows"

The Black Cauldron / Lloyd Alexander (Click here for more details)




Odds Against / Dick Francis




"Ozymandias" / Percy Bysshe Shelley (click here for more details)




Episode 8 - "Lady Lazarus"


The Crying of Lot 49 / Thomas Pynchon




Episode 7 - "At the Codfish Ball"


The Fixer / Bernard Malamud (click here for more details)





The Berlitz Self-Teacher: French





Episode 6 - "Far Away Places"

The Tibetan Book of the Dead




The Life of Greece / Will Durant (click here for more details)





Episode 4 - "Mystery Date"

Where Love Has Gone / Harold Robbins (click here for more details)




Episode 3 - "Tea Leaves"

Mein Kampf / Adolf Hitler (click here for more details)




Sterling’s Gold / Roger Sterling (click here for more details)




Episode 1 and 2 - "A Little Kiss"

Johnny Got His Gun / Dalton Trumbo




The Sand Pebbles / Richard McKenna

A Thousand Days / John F. Kennedy in the White House / Arthur Schlesinger



Season 4

Episode 13  "Tomorrowland" 

   You Are Not the Target: A Practical Manual of How to Cope with a World of Bewildering Change / Laura Archera HuxleyGazella / Stuart Cloete (See 1/21/12  update for more details)



The Spy Who Came in From the Cold / John Le Carré




The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain 




Episode 11  "Chinese Wall"

Meeting with Japan / Fosco Maraini




Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships / Eric Berne




Sterling’s Gold / Roger Sterling




Episode 10 - "Hands and Knees"

The Miracle Worker / William Gibson 




Episode 9  "The Beautiful Girls"

The Clue of the Black Keys / Carolyn Keene
(See The Sally Draper reading list for more details) 




Episode 5 "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

The Twenty-One Balloons / William Pène DuBois
(See "Mad Men Mystery Solved" for more details) 




The Chrysanthemum and the Sword / Ruth Benedict




The Horse That Liked Sandwiches / Vivian L. Thompson




Season 3

Episode 10  "The Color Blue"

The Group / Mary McCarthy




Helping Yourself with Psychiatry / Frank CaprioSet Theory and Logic / Robert StollMeeting with Japan / Fosco MarainiThe Corps / W.E.B. Griffin
(See 10/23/10 update for more details) 



Episode 9  "Wee Small House"

The Bible




Episode 7  "Seven Twenty Three"

Confessions of an Advertising Man / David Ogilvy




Be My Guest / Conrad Hilton
(See 10/23/10 update for more details)




Episode 6  "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency"

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Mark Twain
(See 10/23/10 update for more details)




Episode 3  "My Old Kentucky Home"

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire / Edward Gibbon




Episode 2  "Love Among the Ruins"

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary
(See 10/20/10 update #2 for more details)




Season 2

Episode 11  "Jet Set"

The Sound and the Fury / William Faulkner




Episode 10  "The Inheritance"

Junior Classics Volume One (Fairy Tales And Fables) and Volume Seven (The Animal Book)




Episode 9  "Six Month Leave"

Ship of Fools / Katherine Anne Porter




Episode 8  "A Night to Remember"

Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies / C. S. Forester
(See 1/22/12 update for more details)




Episode 4  "Three Sundays"

“A Diamond as Big as the Ritz” from Babylon Revisited and Other Stories / F. Scott Fitzgerald
(See "A Mad Men Mystery Solved" for more details) 




Episode 3  "The Benefactor"

Marjorie Morningstar / Herman Wouk




Episode 2  "Flight 1"

The Agony and the Ecstasy / Irving Stone (click here for more details)




Episode 1  "For Those Who Think Young"

Meditations in an Emergency / Frank O’Hara




Season 1

Episode 8  "The Hobo Code"

Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand

The Crisis of the Old Order / Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
The Americans: The Colonial Experience / Daniel Boorstin 



Episode 6  "Babylon"

The Best of Everything / Rona Jaffe




Exodus / Leon Uris




Episode 4  "New Amsterdam"

Nursery Friends from France / translated by Olive Beaupre Miller




Italy / Herbert Kubly and the editors of Life




Episode 3  "Marriage of Figaro"


Lady Chatterley's Lover / D. H. Lawrence



Episode 1  "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

The Crisis of the Old Order / Arthur Schlesinger Jr.   




The View from Chivo / H. Allen SmithThe Peking Man is Missing / Claire Taschdjian
La Presidenta / Lois GouldMasterpieces of World Literature in Digest Form / Frank Magill




Multiple episodes

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book




Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook




You Might Also Like

The Image, or What Happened to the American Dream / Daniel Boorstin

Sex and the Single Girl / Helen Gurley Brown 


Books About the Show




Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Mad Men discussion group

Going to start a season 1 discussion group at the library in april! I'm using your list (with credit to you) on a bookmark. Nice work!

Great idea!

Let us know how the discussion goes!


A great work! I love the Mad Man series

update this for season 6!

update this for season 6!

Will do!

This list will keep going as long as the show does! The Hawaii beach preview with "Dante's Inferno" will have to hold you over until Season 6 starts. Thanks!

add a new novel

SPLIT THIRTY -- just published. Nails Madison Avenue in the early '70s.


Thanks for reading!

January 7, 1968 Best Sellers

The season 6 premiere has a shot of the front page of the January 1, 1968 New York Times so we know when the episode took place. The top 10 New York Times best sellers for the week of January 7, 1968 were: 1) The Confessions of Nat Turner, by William Styron 2) Topaz, by Leon Uris 3) Christy, by Catherine Marshall 4) The Gabriel Hounds, by Mary Stewart 5) The Instrument, by John O'Hara 6) The Exhibitionist, by Henry Sutton 7) The Chosen, by Chaim Potok 8) Where Eagles Dare, by Alistair MacLean 9) The President's Plane is Missing, by Robert J. Serling 10) Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin

June 2, 1968 Best Sellers

Season 6 Episode 7 ended on June 6, 1968. The top 10 New York Times best sellers for the week of June 2, 1968 were: 1) Airport, by Arthur Hailey 2) Couples, by John Updike 3) Myra Breckinridge, by Gore Vidal 4) Topaz, by Leon Uris 5) Vanished, by Fletcher Knebel 6) The Confessions of Nat Turner, by William Styron 7) Testimony of Two Men, by Taylor Caldwell 8) The Tower of Babel, by Morris West 9) Christy, by Catherine Marshall 10) Tunc, by Lawrence Durrell

November 24, 1968 Best Sellers

Season 6 ended during Thanksgiving 1968. The top 10 New York Times best sellers for that week were: 1) The Salzburg Connection, by Helen MacInnes 2) Preserve and Protect, by Allen Drury 3) Airport, by Arthur Hailey 4) A Small Town in Germany, by John le Carré 5) The Hurricane Years, by Cameron Hawley 6) Couples, by John Updike 7) Testimony of Two Men, by Taylor Caldwell 8) True Grit, by Charles Portis 9) The Senator, by Drew Pearson 10) The First Circle, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Wow. I searched to see if anyone compiled a list of the books that appeared on the show but I didn't really expect to find them , heh. thanks!

Thank you!

Be sure to check out the other list links at the beginning of the post!


thank you thank you thank you thank you

The Milk & Honey Route

The name of S7 E13 is a direct reference to The Milk and Honey Route: A Handbook for Hobos by Dean Stiff


Thanks! The list has been updated!


Over eight years ago VAGABOND BOOKS from Pasadena, Ca. got a call from a woman named Ellen. She explained that she was the prop master for a new show, MAD MEN, on AMC. For the past seven seasons, we have provided vintage hardcover and softcover books for them including: THE GODFATHER, SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, WALL STREET JUNGLE, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, PORNOY’S COMPLAINT , six Jewish Prayer books from 1969, Sally’s school books and Betty’s Freud paperback for college. The producers required that all the books were historically correct, tied specifically to the year portrayed in the show and in like new condition. Every year we sold them boxes of books published in the year they were filming. This arrangement led us on many fun and interesting adventures to locate books for them. For example, the opening shot for season six shows Don Draper reading a paperback copy of DANTE’S INFERNO sitting on the beach in Hawaii. The first few immortal lines of this classic were read to the viewers in a voice-over that established the motif for the entire season. Unable to locate the exact copy required for this scene through the usual channels, we finally located the as new paperback in a library bookstore in Atascadero, Ca. only a couple of days before shooting began. Naturally the books we provided had to look new. Not an easy task for popular culture books, especially the paperback titles that were made to be read and discarded. They are now 50 years old and more difficult to find that the first editions. The one collectible copy of an easily recognizable hardcover book that we provided was Thomas Pynchon’s THE CRYING OF LOT 49 in a fine dustjacket, naturally. Pete is reading it on the train. We appreciate the importance that books played in this show, which regularly reminded the large audience of viewers to read books. We are sad to see this great show end. We will miss the thrill of seeing our old books on new episodes, but happily we’ll still be able to see them on re-runs for years to come.

Missing at Least Two

Wow is this impressive! I was looking for a complete list and here it is... I am in the process of watching the series again and would like to add that the script mentions at least two books that you do not have on your list (again, they would not have screen shots attached to them, they are only mentioned in dialogue)... Paul Kinsey refers to a situation as "Darkness at Noon", novel by Arthur Koestler, and Draper is referred to at least once as "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit", novel by Sloan Wilson. I there was a Joseph Conrad reference as well (refers to Conrad and travelling "the river") but I'm not certain if they ever specifically mentions the Heart of Darkness. Thank you, thank you, thank you to this lists creator!

Nice catches!

Thanks for reading!

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