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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
 
Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Lewis Wallace (1827–1905)
 
Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew Wallace (1880). The scene of this extremely popular story is laid in the East, principally in Jerusalem, just after the Christian era. The first part is introductory, and details the coming of the three wise men, Melchior, Kaspar, and Balthasar, to worship the Babe born in the manger at Bethlehem. Some fifteen years later the hero of the tale, Judah Ben Hur, a young lad, the head of a rich and noble family, is living in Jerusalem, with his widowed mother and little sister to whom he is devotedly attached. When Valerius Gratus, the new Roman governor, arrives in state, and the brother and sister go up on the roof to see the great procession pass, Judah accidentally dislodges a tile which fells the governor to the ground. Judah is accused of intended murder; his (till then) lifelong friend Messala, a Roman noble, accuses him of treasonable sentiments, his property is confiscated, and he is sent to the galleys for life. In the course of the narrative, which involves many exciting adventures of the hero, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth are introduced, and Ben Hur is converted to the Christian faith through the miracles of our Lord.  1
  This book is one of the most successful examples of modern romantic fiction. It displays great familiarity with Oriental customs and habits of mind, good constructive ability, and vivid powers of description. The story of the Sea Fight, for example, and of the Chariot Race (quoted in the LIBRARY), are admirably vivid and exciting episodes.  2
 
 
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