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Fictionalized story of an American who fought in the War of Independence and of his subsequent struggles for survival, by Herman Melville. Published serially in 1854-55 in Putnam's Monthly Magazine and in 1855 in book form, this short picaresque novel was based on a historical Israel Potter, whose autobiographical narrative Melville had read. Israel Potter lived a life of adventure, serving bravely as a regular soldier in the American Revolution. Later, he served under John Paul Jones in the new American navy and was a secret courier for Benjamin Franklin. In exile in Europe, Potter lived a poverty-stricken existence. Upon his return to the United States, his request for a pension was denied. He died forgotten and destitute. Melville turned Potter into a picaresque hero and embellished the facts of his life, satirizing his encounters with Franklin and adding a vignette about Ethan Allen.