That Ben-Hur is still being published after seventy-four years is proof that the book has value and interest. Then, too, the movies have made use of the story, thus adding to the popularity of hte volume. Such a powerful story is Ben-Hur that almost all lists of the world's great fiction contain it.
However, in the original form of the book, Lewis (Lew) Wallace, the author, a man of wide learning and experience, included much Biblecal matter, philosophy, and history that are beyond most young readers. They do not have the background necessary for the understanding of hte complete book, which the author wrote after years of intensive research.
Wallace's vocabulary, in many places , is quite difficult, and neither you nor Wallace is to blame for this situation. The English language, for one thing, has changed somewhat in more than seventy years. Then, too, the author in many instances used a type of expression which is unfamiliar and sometimes confusing to young readers.
But the story of Ben-Hur, which deals with the struggles of the Jews and the Romans and the rise of Christianity, is indeed an exciting reading journey. The volume has all hte elements that make for profitable entertainment for both young and old alike. Therefore, to make it possible for you to grasp more easily the story and its lessons, I have eliminated or simplified the more difficult parts,a nd simplified the vocabulary, sentence structure, and punctuation where neede. In a few cases footnotes are used to add clearness to material that could naot be made less difficult in any other way I purposely kept down the number of footnotes because I know young readers, especially, do not like interruptions....
As the story opens, a mysterious rider is traveling silently across the desert, but we are soon to know that he is not lost, that he has a purpose in mind, and that he is expecting friends. Now, after you have read a short biography of the author on page 256, you are ready to begin Ben-Hur.
From the Preface by G.H.
By Lew Wallace