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Editorial Reviews

Ben-Hur is one of the most influential Christian novels and was written some 79 years before the famous chariot-racing Charlton Heston film.

Narrator Jim Killavey unfolds with easy grace the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince falsely imprisoned by his onetime childhood friend, Messala, a Roman officer. Ben-Hur survives a long and brutal stay as a slave in the galleys and returns to Jerusalem, vowing revenge on the man who destroyed him. But the developing events of a local man named Jesus lead Ben-Hur to rethink everything he thought he knew about right, wrong, justice, and forgiveness.

If you’ve enjoyed the movie but have never enjoyed the audiobook, now’s the time to give yourself that gift.

Publisher's Summary

Ben-Hur could be said to be the first American blockbuster. When it was published in 1880, it sold over two million copies and was translated into numerous languages. It combines all the best elements of popular classic, epic, and action stories against a background of authoritative historical detail. The pace and immediacy of Ben-Hur was the basis of its appeal to filmmakers - Charlton Heston's portrayal of the title role became one of the classics of the cinema. Wallace's original novel has been largely forgotten now, but as this reading shows, the story, together with the sweeping rhythm of the writer's prose, make it ideally suited to audio.
©1988 Jimcin Recordings (P)1988 Jimcin Recordings

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jimcin
  • Portsmouth, RI, USA
  • 09-17-03

Use the sample

I always listen to the sample reading before downloading the book. I don't want any big surprises. I've come across some "big name" readers who, for one reason or another did not sound very good - so I didn't get those books. Try before you buy!
In the case of Ben Hur, ok, I'm from New England, so the slight Yankee accent was rather comforting. And, accent or not, I thought the reading itself was very well done and the book quite inspiring. A big "thumbs up" from me.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Story Transcends Narration

Indeed, it is true that the narrator has a Bostonian accent, and that his narration is not the best out there. At first I found it mildly annoying. Once the story got rolling, however, I no longer cared about the accent or the delivery of the narration, for the the story and the characters in this incredible book transcend any lack of excellence in narration. This is a book for the ages, a magnificently written, sweeping tale of friendship, love, pain, revenge, and redemption. Lew Wallace's writing is equal to that of the greatest literary figures in history, and his storytelling is subordinate to none. If you have but one audiobook to hear in the next year, let this be the one. You will not regret it. Additionally, I should mention that while the movie "Ben Hur" was without a doubt one of the greatest ever made, the book, as is usually the case, is far better than the film. There is a ton of material in the book that is not in the film, probably for many reasons, that makes the book a much more rewarding experience than the film.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Enduring Classic...

If you liked THE ROBE, this is another great book for you. If you are jaded on the "modern" vulgarity and a lot of just plain bad writing, here is a novelized history elegant and well-written. Like THE ROBE, it can be a tad didactic or overly explicative in its dialogue at times, but the overall magnitude of the book brings it above these minors flaws and sets it in the canon of the classics.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

If you liked the movie, you will love the book

The reader is not the best I've heard, but Lew Wallace's story makes it worth the effort it takes. I think Wallace's writing style was somewhat stilted and would be difficult for anyone to read. But the story overcomes all. Don't miss it!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

compelling story of the christ

ben hur was really a surprise for me i had thought that it was a story concocted for holywood but then i found out it was written by a civil war general in 1880, the historical narrative was surprisingly rich and replete with cultural details of period giving it a richness i had not suspected from a christian based novel. I had suspected the typical kich christianly cultural dogmatic proclamztion written for the club or condecsendedly written for the heathen, but instead i found a genuinely challenging presentation of the christian story that resonated with my own personal expierience with salvation and the conflict of the hopes and perspectives of the flesh and its own version of glory contracted against the internal recognition and realization of a power and love that renders all to dust in comparison.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • Healy, AK, USA
  • 07-27-03

the reader makes (breaks) the reading

After listening to 25+ Audible titles, I am finally prompted to review one, and only because this one made such a lasting (negative) impression. Wallace's epic, on its own merit, deserves five stars, but after suffering through the reading delivered by Jim Killavey, to which I'd give the opposite of stars (black holes?), I can muster only a dismal three stars overall. Killavey's reading is monotonous and, worse, delivered with a pronounced Boston accent. (I suspect that I am more sensitve to this than many, having grown up in that region and having shed my own accent along the way.) He could be a textbook study for a linguistics class, as his speech includes such classic examples of leaving out R's from words in which they belong, and adding them to words in which they don't, so that "lingered" becomes "lingid." Other regionalisms include "fuh-gutten" for "forgotten," and (particularly unbearable because of the number of uses) "Gahd" for "God." Then there are the words that he repeatedly mispronounces: "reSPITE" for "respite," "calvary" for "cavalry," and more. All in all, 22 hours of a frustrating, ear-splitting listen of a classic title that still managed to stand up to such abuse and pull off a come-from-behind score of three stars. I thought that recorded-book readers were usually selected for their LACK of regional accents, unless a regional accent was appropriate for the story. This one was seriously disappointing. (By the way, it is the first of 25+ Audible listens that I consider disappointing in any way.)

37 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it. hated to leave the book.

while lengthy, the writing was beautiful, and filled in the story. both movies changed things around quite a bit, and now we know the real story!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Production Quality is horrible

The production of Ben Hur is horrible. I couldn't make it 30 minutes into a story I dearly love. Sad.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • E.
  • 09-18-07

Not for your average listener

There is an exciting revenge tale here; several minutes of one, at least. There's also several hours of a historical drama featuring Christ, the 3 wise men, and Ben Hur as an militant 13th apostle. It's not what I expected and not for a contemporary audience.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Alexandria, VA, United States
  • 01-15-12

This is not the movie

Any additional comments?

SPOILER ALERT
The subtitle of this book is

0 of 2 people found this review helpful