Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile, by Herman Melville

Penguin, 2008

Based on the life of an actual soldier who claimed to have fought at Bunker Hill, Israel Potter is unique among Herman Melville's books: a novel in the guise of a biography. In telling the story of Israel Potter's fall from Revolutionary War hero to peddler on the streets of London, where he obtained a livelihood by crying "Old Chairs to Mend," Melville alternated between invented scenes and historical episodes. This edition reproduces the definitive text and includes selections from Potter's autobiography.