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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HUR We Go!
A REVIEW OF `BEH-HUR' BY LEW WALLACE

`Ben-Hur' is a sweeping historical epic. Ambitious, challenging yet ultimately rewarding, it succeeds almost flawlessly in delivering a story of spectacle, romance, religion, revenge and salvation. First published in 1880, `Ben-Hur' is probably best-remembered today for the 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston and featuring...
Published on 26 May 2012 by Barty Literati

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragged a bit in parts
I have to say I did not find this novel as moving as I did Quo Vadis, that other 19th century novel about early Christianity. It rather dragged in places and some of the characters seemed rather flat. It covers a longer period of time than the famous film, as the first 50 pages concern the birth of Christ and in particular the progress of the Magi. As for other...
Published on 21 Jan. 2007 by John Hopper


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HUR We Go!, 26 May 2012
This review is from: Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
A REVIEW OF `BEH-HUR' BY LEW WALLACE

`Ben-Hur' is a sweeping historical epic. Ambitious, challenging yet ultimately rewarding, it succeeds almost flawlessly in delivering a story of spectacle, romance, religion, revenge and salvation. First published in 1880, `Ben-Hur' is probably best-remembered today for the 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston and featuring THAT chariot race. However, to dismiss the novel is to ignore a wonderful book that will hold genuine appeal for lovers of `classic' fiction.

The plot of `Ben-Hur' revolves around the fortunes of a young Jewish prince who gives the book its name. Betrayed in his youth by a vain and self-serving Roman, Messala, Ben-Hur loses his freedom and his family having become a galley slave for The Empire. As the story unfolds, he regains his liberty and begins to simultaneously plot the downfall of Messala and the discovery of his missing mother and sister. In doing so, Ben-Hur brushes shoulders with the wise, the rich, the powerful, the holy and the beautiful, whilst experiencing fear, desolation, triumph and romance. Trying to condense the book into a review of this length is difficult. Think `The Count of Monte Cristo' meets Russell Crowe's `Gladiator' and you're getting warm.

On publication, `Ben-Hur' had the sub-title - `A Tale of The Christ'. Our hero's story is told in parallel with that of the life of Jesus. Structurally, `Ben-Hur' is split into eight separate books. The first of these deals with the birth of Jesus in Bethleham, whilst the last centres primarily of the crucifixion. Some modern-day readers of the book have sought to criticise Wallace's book by claiming that the flow of the narrative is interrupted by its overtly-religious opening and conclusion. However, it could be equally argued that these give the novel a strong sense of time and place and provide the context of our hero's exploits.

Other criticisms of `Ben-Hur' are that it is too long and/or some of its characters are not fully-rounded and spout rather stilted dialogue. These is surely vacuous nit-picking, for virtually every pre-20th century `classic' could be branded with the same `flaws'. Verne? Yep. Melville? Yep. Dumas? You bet! It must be remembered that books like `Ben-Hur' were written before modern entertainments cranked up the velocity of our many of our pass-times to almost ludicrous levels. Yes, there are peaks and troughs in the pacing, but I defy anyone who appreciates great action-adventure writing not to marvel at some of `Ben-Hur's set pieces, notably the legendary chariot race.

To conclude, `Ben-Hur' is a tremendous novel from an era when the sprawling and the epic were qualities to celebrate in a book. That it continues to exhilarate and move the reader in equal measure is testament to Lew Wallace's masterful story-telling. For those who have exhausted the more A-list mainstream `classics', there are far-worse ways to spend some extended quality time than to grab a copy of `Ben-Hur' and enter a world of heroic escapism.

Barty's Score: 9.5/10
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenging yet infinetly rewarding read!, 29 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
I first seen Ben-Hur on television a number of years ago and at that time, it was Charlton Heston in another Bible flick which though was entertaining, was a little long winded. The film doesn't do the book justice. Wallace builds up a picture of paradise lost and through a refreshing use of words and imagery, conjures up every scene & emotion our young hero encounteres & endures throughout the novel. The plot is one of love & revenge. Not love in the sense of Romeo & Juliet but the love between a son & his family and a man for his God. The story is set around about the time of Jesus Christ but that should in no way discourage anyone who's not of a Christian nature as this book will be enjoyed by everyone who gives it a chance. On summary, Wallace captures your attention from more or less the beginning & refuses to let go, climaxing at the chariot race where rightful revenge is sought by Juda Ben-Hur on his mortal enemy Massala.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur - the full story, 16 May 2012
By 
Tony Holkham (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The film was wonderful and I've watched it several times, but the book is something else. The descriptions of people, society and life in the time of Christ have a ring of truth, and there is ten times the detail than could be fitted into a film. It's not an easy book to read, but persevere and you won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jesus' influence and compassion wins through, 18 Jan. 2015
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This is an excellent book and well worth the read. Running parallel with Jesus' life is that of a young man from a princely Sadducee family. There is tragedy, the need for revenge and yet ... along the way the young man meets unknowingly at the time with Jesus while both were still young and the memory comes back to him much later on when he again witnesses Jesus' compassion for others - yet still he expects this young 'King' to come in military form to rid them of the Romans. The young man - Judah - meets one of the Wise Men during his journey through life and along with an old servant of his father's they have quite a lot of influence on him. Ultimately, as Judah stands at the foot of the cross, realisation dawns and he commits his future to Christ.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragged a bit in parts, 21 Jan. 2007
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I have to say I did not find this novel as moving as I did Quo Vadis, that other 19th century novel about early Christianity. It rather dragged in places and some of the characters seemed rather flat. It covers a longer period of time than the famous film, as the first 50 pages concern the birth of Christ and in particular the progress of the Magi. As for other comparisons, the "real" Ben Hur sounds nothing like Charlton Heston, not only physically, but also in that here in the novel his desire for vengeance on Messala comes out more strongly as the chief personal drive of his life. Particular moving moments were the immediate aftermath of the accident that led to Ben Hur's arrest and that of his family and the later discovery of the appalling treatment and condition of his mother (unnamed for some reason) and sister Tirzah. In sum, I'm glad I read this novel, but it was a bit of a struggle in parts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than I thought!, 7 Mar. 2012
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Seen the movie with Charlton Heston but never read the book so when I got a Kindle I decided to get it. The book has a lot more detail to it. Enjoyable
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book and great service, 12 Jan. 2013
After the order, I emailed asking if it could be sent as soon as possible as it was for a friend's birthday and I'd left it a bit late. I received an immediate reply saying they would send it the next day. There was no picture unfortunately, but when the book arrived it was a beautiful edition (1887 hardback) and in very good condition. Such a nice edition that I was very close to keeping it and telling the friend it never arrived. He was also very pleased with it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars With believable detail, such a true story., 23 Feb. 2015
I should have read this book 70 years ago. The expected events take place in such detail that it is wonderful how the author can have done so much research, adding understanding to delight in every chapter. I must t tell all my family to read it and the sooner the better. We must discuss it and revel in it's presentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis, 25 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Ben-Hur (Hardcover)
A spiritual tale of the quest for love, the recovery of identity and patrimony, Ben-Hur's vivid descriptions are based on a breadth of research into the Bible and the Holy Lands that is a secure basis for its detail and realism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Hur by Lewis Wallace, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This is an amazing book. I am some way into it. Obviously there is much more in the book than the film (which is one of my favourites) and it is difficult to,put down. It arrived swiftly and was well packaged.
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Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics)
Ben Hur (Wordsworth Classics) by Lewis Wallace (Paperback - 5 Jan. 1996)
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