In first-century Judea, Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur is betrayed by his childhood friend Messala and given a life sentence as a Roman galley slave. After Ben-Hur saves the life of his commander during a pirate attack, he returns to Galilee a free man but bent on revenge against Messala. His quest for vengeance turns into insurrection, but his life is eventually transformed through his encounters with the Christ. This best-selling novel of redemption has been translated into multiple languages and adapted for radio, stage, television, and several motion pictures. The 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston won eleven Academy Awards. As is often the case, however, the original novel tells a far better tale than the movie. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is absolutely compelling. Lew Wallace's vivid attention to detail and superb writing style make the story as accessible and enjoyable today as when it was first published. Blessed by Pope Leo XIII---the first work of fiction to be so honored---Ben-Hur is one of the great works of American literature. Newly designed and typeset by Waking Lion Press, this edition is printed on archival-quality, acid-free paper for a lifetime of reading enjoyment.
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Lewis "Lew" Wallace (1827 – 1905) was an American lawyer, governor, Union general in the American Civil War, politician and author, best remembered for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Wallace was born in Brookville, Indiana, to David and Esther French Test Wallace. His father served as lieutenant governor and Indiana Governor; his stepmother, Zerelda Gray Sanders Wallace, was a prominent in temperance and suffrage.Wallace served in the Mexican War in 1846 as a first lieutenant with the 1st Indiana Infantry regiment. He was admitted to the bar in 1849. In 1851 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the First Congressional District. At the start of the Civil War, Wallace was appointed state adjutant general and helped raise troops in Indiana. On April 25, 1861, he was appointed Colonel of the 11th Indiana Infantry. After brief service in western Virginia, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on September 3 and given the command of a brigade. Wallace also held a number of important political posts during the 1870s and 1880s. He served as governor of New Mexico Territory from 1878 to 1881, and as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire from 1881 to 1885. As governor, he offered amnesty to many men involved in the Lincoln County War; in the process he met with Billy the Kid (Henry McCarty). On 17 March 1879, the pair arranged that Kid would act as an informant and testify against others involved in the Lincoln County War, and, in return, Kid would be "scot free with a pardon in his]pocket for all [his] misdeeds." But the Kid returned to his outlaw ways and Governor Wallace withdrew his offer. While serving as governor, Wallace completed the novel that made him famous: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). It grew to be the best-selling American novel of the 19th century. The book has never been out of print and has been filmed four times.
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