Ben-Hur

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Ben-Hur - 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 picture productions. Ben-Hur remained at the top of the bestseller lists until the publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936). The 1959 MGM film adaptation of Ben-Hur was seen by tens of millions and won eleven Academy Awards in 1960, after which the book's sales increased and it surpassed Gone with the Wind. The novel was blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the first work of fiction to be so honored. The success of the novel and its stage and film adaptations also helped it to become a popular cultural icon that was used to promote numerous commercial products. The story recounts in descriptive detail the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, a fictional Jewish prince from Jerusalem who is enslaved by the Romans at the beginning of the 1st century and becomes a charioteer and a Christian. Running in parallel with Judah's narrative is the unfolding story of Jesus, who comes from the same region and is a similar age. The novel reflects themes of betrayal, conviction, and redemption, with a revenge plot that leads to a story of love and compassion. Lew Wallace - Lewis "Lew" Wallace (April 10, 1827 – February 15, 1905) was an American lawyer, Union general in the American Civil War, governor of the New Mexico Territory, politician, diplomat, and author from Indiana. Among his novels and biographies, Wallace is best known for his historical adventure story, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880), a bestselling novel that has been called "the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century." Wallace's military career included service in the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. He was appointed Indiana's adjutant general and commanded the 11th Indiana Infantry Regiment. Wallace, who attained the rank of major general, participated in the Battle of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, and the Battle of Monocacy. He also served on the military commission for the trials of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, and presided over the trial of Henry Wirz, the Confederate commandant of the Andersonville prison camp. Wallace resigned from the U.S. Army in November 1865 and briefly served as a major general in the Mexican army, before returning to the United States. Wallace was appointed governor of the New Mexico Territory (1878–81) and served as U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire (1881–85). Wallace retired to his home in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he continued to write until his death in 1905.

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