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Israel Potter

Herman Melville

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Oh, there is just nothing to be done to-night," said the Squire; "nor for some days to come perhaps, but we wanted to have you prepared."

And hereupon he hinted to his guest rather vaguely of his general intention; and that over, begged him to entertain them with some account of his adventures since he first took up arms for his country. To this Israel had no objections in the world, since all men love to tell the tale of hardships endured in a righteous cause. But ere beginning his story, the Squire refreshed him with some cold beef, laid in a snowy napkin, and a glass of Perry, and thrice during the narration of the adventures, pressed him with additional draughts.

But after his second glass, Israel declined to drink more, mild as the beverage was. For he noticed, that not only did the three gentlemen listen with the utmost interest to his story, but likewise interrupted him with questions and cross-questions in the most pertinacious manner. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Amerika'nın bağımsızlık savaşı döneminde, Amerika'nın tutunamamış Battal Gazi'si İsrael Potter'ın hayatı. Tek başına bir gemiyi bile ele geçirebiliyor ama hayata tutunamıyor yani. Melville'ce bir kahraman hikâyesi.

While reading this obscure novel I happened upon a page in a notebook dated about 4 years ago, and this was jotted down: "Israel Potter, Herman Melville"

I have no idea why I wrote that down or what had prompted it. When I saw this paperback in a used bookstore, I thought I had never even heard of th

A very episodic book and some of those episodes are amazing, but some of them are not. The ending is also quite a downer.

Around the time that Melville wrote, or began to write Israel Potter, legend has it that he was in pretty dire financial straits. Destitute basically. Therefore, this is a book that he sat down to write in a desperate attempt to make some more money for his family.
Imagine having as much talent as M

Second reading, April 2024:
What I like about this book is that it is much more subtle than I could appreciate in my first reading. Melville's over-the-top portraits of the figures of Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones and Ethan Allen just seemed comical to me before, but now I read them as Quixotic

Wow, this is good. And totally off the radar. Melville, between outrageous experiments, writes a rather straight-forward biography of a forgotten Revolutionary War hero - and the result is hilariously funny. And very, very sad. If only he had written a few more of these "for the money" style books;

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