Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile is a novel by Herman Melville published in installments in Putnams Monthly Magazine from July 1854 through March 1855, in book form by George Palmer Putnam in New York in March 1855, and in a pirated edition by George Routledge in London in May 1855. It is loosely based on a pamphlet (108-page) autobiography that Melville acquired in the 1840s, Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter (Providence, Rhode Island, 1824).At about 60,000 words, the novel is much shorter than the major novels but significantly longer than two of Melvilles greatest stories, "Bartleby the Scrivener" and "Benito Cereno," which were written during the same period and included the following year in The Piazza Tales. It followed the universal excoriation of his previous novel, Pierre: or, The Ambiguities. Thus Melville wrote it as quickly and as straightforwardly as he could in order to secure some sort of income, and for mainly that reason he loathed the book. Still, the novel shows Melville comfortable in his narrative powers and indulging his considerable talents for humor, sly characterization, episodic action, and unsettling understatement. It is one of his easiest books to read, which is all the more surprising in that it was followed by perhaps his most difficult prose work, The Confidence-Man, in 1857.- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.