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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  29,447 Ratings  ·  842 Reviews
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) by Lew Wallace is one of the most popular and beloved 19th century American novels. This faithful New Testament tale combines the events of the life of Jesus with grand historical spectacle in the exciting story of Judah of the House of Hur, a man who finds extraordinary redemption for himself and his family.A classic of faith, fortitud ...more
Hardcover, The World's Best Reading, 558 pages
Published December 31st 1992 by The Reader's Digest Association (first published 1880)
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Swantje I'm listening to the book and I think it helps a lot with the style. At 100 pages in 2 days, you'd still need more than 12 days to read it, because…moreI'm listening to the book and I think it helps a lot with the style. At 100 pages in 2 days, you'd still need more than 12 days to read it, because it's more than 600 written pages.(less)

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Mary
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I want to address is the “speed” of this book. I first read this book in the fall or winter of 1971, and at that time, as a high school senior, I was well-accustomed to reading Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and all those other authors of the Victorian era (and before!) Back then, I read one Shakespeare play every year for high school English literature (with support from my friends and the teacher!), and had even slogged through the assigned portions of Beowulf. That ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Lewis "Lew" Wallace, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1908 , 491 P.
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published by Harper & Brothers on November 12, 1880, and considered "the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century". It became a best-selling American novel, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in sales. The book also inspired other novels with biblical settings and was adapted for the stage and motion
...more
Vane J.
Is not his the law, Eye for eye, hand for hand, foot for foot? Oh, in all these years I have dreamed of vengeance, and prayed and provided for it, and gathered patience from the growing of my store, thinking and promising, as the Lord liveth, it will one day buy me punishment of the wrong-doers?


Who's in for a revenge tale set in the first century a.C.?

Ben-Hur is a man who's perfectly happy. He has a mother and a sister who love him, and he's friends with a Roman, and that puts him in a positio
...more
Jonathan Terrington

"Out of that vast tomb Christianity issued to supersede the Caesars."

Ben Hur is one of those classic works better recognised for its many adaptations. To this end it seems fair to compare it to another highly similar work - Les Miserables. Both are classic historical fiction works which use history to spread themes and ideas about humanity as a whole. Both novels also regularly divert from the storytelling to provide detailed insights into history. This is perhaps where Ben Hur is stronger tha
...more
Werner
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century literature, or of historical fiction
Historical fiction as a genre was first developed by the writers of the Romantic school, which arose around the end of the 18th century; the Romantics were drawn by the exoticism of historical settings and the drama of epochal events, and even of daily life in a time was life was wilder and more dangerous. Lew Wallace's masterwork stands squarely in this tradition, but takes it in a new direction. For the first couple of Romantic generations, "history" largely meant European history. Biblical hi ...more
Sara
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Third Reading - Lent 2017

Could there be a better classic to read during Lent?!

Second reading - Lent 2016. Absolutely better on the second reading.

What American is unaware of the Charlton Heston chariot race? It is absolutely iconic. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne is caught reading Ben Hur during lessons but couldn't put it down because of the intensity of the chariot race.

Most Americans have grown up with at least a passing exposure to the Hollywood epic of Ben Hur and therefore will find the t
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I've been meaning to read this book for at least 40 or 50 years and have just never gotten farther than starting it and then not finishing it. The reason I hadn't finished it in the past was that I'd pick something else up to read. See this book was written or at least published in 1880...the language and the writing reflect that.

Look, that is not a criticism it's simply a fact. I had trouble acclimating myself to the period writing.

Also I suspect most reading this will have seen the Charlton He
...more
Christian McKay
The first sign that I should not have read this book was the discrepancy in hours between the abridged and unabridged versions on audible. Unabridged: 21 hours, Abridged: 3 hours. I bought it anyway and soon discovered why. There's about 15% story and 85% fluff in Ben Hur. It is, hands down, the best argument for editing I have ever read.

For example, there was a section in the beginning where two men embraced. That's all we need to know, right? No, no. Of course not. We have to hear that they t
...more
Rebecca
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrei Tamaş
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Indiscutabil cel mai bun roman despre începuturile răspândirii creștinismului, declarat ca o scriere care, între sfârșitul secolului XIX și începutul secolului XX, a adus "religiei lui Cristos" un uriaș aport de adepți.
Prin 2012 văzusem filmul (o peliculă cu Charlton Heston), apoi, plimbându-mă prin bibliotecă și neștiind ce să aleg (era în era când încă nu-mi desăvârşisem interesele), tot uitându-mă prin colecția de la Adevărul, am dat cu ochii de titlul acesta și-mi adusesem aminte că filmul
...more
Teri
Went to a BYU education week class on finding good books to read. A woman in the class recommended this one. One of her favorites. I look forward to reading it and then watching the movie which Sally has highly recommended.
I loved this story. It was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. There is a lot of detailed description of clothing, customs, etc. Wallace addressed the reader and would try to put you in the location he was describing. It took some patience, but I began to really enjoy it.
...more
Julie Davis
Having just watched the 2016 Ben Hur (which was inferior to the classic 1959 film, but very interesting as a companion piece), I decided to reread the book because my memory of it is muddled by all the film versions. Enjoying it so far and surprised by some of the book facts that the movies changed.

========

I'm listening to the LibriVox recording by Mark F. Smith. AND reading the Readers' Digest version which is unabridged and has illustrations on every page. It's the next best thing to watching
...more
Robin Hatcher
I first read Ben-Hur when I was in my late teens or early 20s. But over time, the Charlton Heston movie version (a favorite that I watch often) replaced anything about the book in my mind. Therefore, I decided it was time I revisited this classic novel, first published in the USA in 1880.

This novel is surprisingly easy to read, considering when it was written. The style is as that of a storyteller, speaking directly to his audience, and I quickly fell under the spell of the story being told. The
...more
Kim
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring read... more to follow.
David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to David by: Charlton Heston
Shelves: historical
One man's search for redemption
27 July 2010

Needless to say that the book is much better than the movie, and when it comes to Ben Hur, that is definitely saying something. While the famous scenes in the movie are replicated from the book (that being the chariot race and the sea battle), there is much more to the book than there is to the movie (though the theme is the same in both). The book is actually called Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It may seem that Christ is only a bit part in the book
...more
Suzannah
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a very small genre that I love. Set during the late ancient times, it tends to be sensational, exciting, and full of moral fibre. That's right—I'm talking about that guilty pleasure of the Christian fiction world, the Tale of Early Christianity, the ultimate have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too book, in which people with shocking vices get saved and then (like as not) served to the lions in the Circus Maximus. Henryk Sienkiewicz won the Nobel Prize for Quo Vadis, perhaps the masterpiece of the ...more
Joshua
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading the book, I had the pleasure of watching the 1959 film. So, whilst reading the book, I found myself constantly comparing it to the film. There are so many differences! The book, like most, have a lot more backstory and character development than in the film.
Two of the characters that stood out to me in difference from the film the most where: Tirzah (Judah Ben Hur's Sister) and Quintus Arrius (Judah's Step-father). To me both book versions where way better than what was portrayed
...more
Winter Sophia Rose
Engaging, Moving, Thrilling, Uplifting, Unforgettable, Action Packed & Life Changing! An Amazing Classic! I Loved It!
Nooilforpacifists
Really two books; the first about a young Jewish Prince, Judah Ben-Hur, who contemplates rebellion with Rome, the second in which Ben-Hur increasingly is intertwined with the life of Jesus. Published in 1880, it quickly became the second best selling book in the English language until 1936, when “Gone With The Wind” shattered its record.
Simona Stoica
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
În urma unui eveniment nefericit, dintr-un prinţ şi negustor bogat al Ierusalimului, evreul Ben-Hur ajunge sclav în mine, în timp ce familia lui este trimisă într-o tabără de leproşi. Martor al răstignirii lui Iisus, personajul trece printr-o serie neobişnuită de întâmplări, îşi aminteşte de prietenul lui Messala, care l-a trădat, se îndrăgosteşte şi cunoaşte o serie de personaje simbolice care îl ajută să îşi regăsească pacea şi familia de mult pierdută.

Poate folosesc cam des acest cuvânt, dar
...more
Cristina Daranuța
"Nu toate cărțile bune trebuie citite, neapărat, până la capăt."
Asa a fost şi în cazul meu cu Ben Hur...
Amy
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a
My oldest just finished this - the beginning was very slow, slogged a lot she said, but then she just loved it! 💜
Joseph
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is the best selling American novel of all time. It is also a hit movie from 1959 and a new adaptation just hit the theaters last week.

The book itself is excellent. The subtitle is there so that, among other things, the last few chapters aren't a surprise. The main plot follows the young Judah Ben-Hur as he navigates his way from profound loss and betrayal back to wholeness, a wholeness which comes through his experiences of the Christ.

Quite likely, some people who read this will object
...more
Nicola
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
As a work of literature I found this just scrapped into the 'ok' slot. There is a lot of tedious and unnecessary detail and, for my tastes, too much blah blah in general. Certainly parts of it were good but the dramatic climax obviously came with the famous chariot race but because this is a religious text disguised as a novel we need to keep on going for another third while the theme of redemption is played out. Sort of. Ben-Hur isn't big on the forgiving (for which I totally don't blame him) b ...more
Sam
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this is indeed an epic read! A tale of betrayal and revenge on (literally) a biblical scale Wallace follows Jewish Prince Ben-Hur as he loses everything as his 'friend' turns against him and falsely accuses him of the murder of a Roman Governer. As he finds himself trapped as a galley slave he vows to seek his revenge and his determination allows him to do just that. Intertwinned in this is the story of Christ, from his birth to his death, told in great (possibly too much) detail that adds ...more
Rachel N
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
INCREDIBLE! I found this book to be on the same par as Les Miserables. The story begins with the birth of the Christ Child and a detailed depiction of the journey of the Three Wise Men (what could have happened), and ends with the Crucifixion of Jesus. In between these two world changing events is the story of a man (Ben Hur) from a wealthy family who is deeply betrayed by a Roman friend. He ends up in the bowels of a ship as an oarsman – a grueling job. Ben Hur’s life journey is described in gr ...more
Mary JL
Nov 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Christian or Historical fiction
Shelves: fiction-classics
Written in 1880, this excellent historical novel still has much to offer the modern reader.

The story is familiar to anyone who who has seen the movie--Ben Hur is sent to the galleys as a slave; he save the Roman commander; the great chariot race and so on.

But, as is usally the case, for me, the book is SO much better. There is a lot in the book that is not shown in the movie. I find the wealth of historical detail fascinating. And a lot of details about the characters enriches the story for me.
...more
Bogdan
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-world
One of the best historical novels I ever read. It is definitively a masterpiece of the genre together with Sienkewicz's Quo Vadis. I love it and I can recommend it to everyone that would like to read a decent historical novel.
The only bad thing is about the edition from Adevarul that I had. It had several typos and also some pages where the content is printed slightly to the right or to the left of the page. In the end, you can read it well from the respective edition, but definitively such thin
...more
Agir(آگِر)
Nov 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب های زیادی در مورد دوران اولیه مسیحیت نوشته شده
مثل کجا میروی هنریک سینکویچ
که این کتاب هم به این سبک نوشته شده
اما آن کجا و این کجا!!!
نمیدانم اطلاعات تاریخیش چقد صحت دارد
ولی بنظرم از لحاظ ادبی ضعیف است
از ان دست کتاب ها که حسابی از خواندنش پشیمان شدم
بنظرم بعضی کتابا فقط جنبه تجاری دارند
و برای فروش آن، رواحساسات مذهبی مردم حساب ویژه ای باز کرده اند
مثل کتاب هایی که از شما خواهش میکنند ثروتمند شوید
که رو حس جاه طلبی انسان ها حساب باز میکند
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Lewis "Lew" Wallace was a lawyer, governor, Union general in the American Civil War, American statesman, and author, best remembered for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

From Civil War Biography:

Although he would have much preferred to be remembered as a highly successful military hero, Lew Wallace has been thwarted in this ambition and is best known as an author. Born in Indiana
...more
More about Lew Wallace

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