A novel by Lew Wallace published on November 12, 1880 by Harper & Brothers. The novel was a phenomenal best-seller, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) as the best-selling American novel and retained this distinction until the 1936 publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Book sales then surpassed Gone with the Wind, following the release of the highly successful 1959 MGM film adaptation; the film winning eleven Academy Awards. The novel was the first work of fiction to be blessed by a Pope, receiving benediction from Pope Leo XIII. The story tells of the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. The name "Ben Hur" derives from the Hebrew for "Son of white linen”. This novel has sold 50 million copies worldwide since its original publication in 1880.
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