Wallace, Lew (Lewis) (1827–1905), a United States novelist and army officer. His literary reputation rests chiefly on Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). The Fair God (1873) is about the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire in Mexico. The legend of the Wandering Jew provides the theme for The Prince of India (1893). Lew Wallace: An Autobiography (1906) was completed by his wife, also an author.
Wallace was born in Brookville, Indiana. He studied law before serving as a lieutenant in the Mexican War. In 1849 he opened a law office in Indianapolis. He entered the Civil War as a colonel of Indiana volunteers, and rose to the rank of major general. Wallace served at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, and Monocacy. After the war he spent some time in Mexico, then returned to Indiana, where he resumed his law practice and his writing. He was governor of New Mexico Territory, 1878–81, and minister to Turkey, 1881–85.