Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile is loosely based on an autobiography that Melville acquired in the 1840s, Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter.
The story revolves around Potter who leaves his plow to fight in the American Revolution. He is wounded in the Battle of Bunker Hill later captured by the British Navy and taken to England where his escape launches him into a series of adventurous events.
Herman Melville was an American writer of novels, short stories and poetry. Melville was a schoolteacher for a short time and a seaman. On his first voyage he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. His first book, Typee, was an account of that time and became a bestseller and Melville became known as the "man who lived among the cannibals." Public indifference to Moby Dick put an end to his career as a popular author. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition.