Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle Israel Potter
First Written 1855
Genre Fiction
Origin US
Publisher Sagamore Press
My Copy cheap paperback
First Read January 10, 2018

His Fifty Years of Exile

A duller Melville, this one was clearly written to please contemporary audiences and stoke some patriotic fervor. It tells the fictionalized story of Israel Potter, an innocent manly farmer who suffers Odyssean setbacks and trials in the service of the newly-born United States.

Weirdly, only a few of the fifty years of exile are told in the book - Potter has adventure after adventure. He fights in Bunker Hill. He meets George Washington, Ben Franklin, King George, John Paul Jones, Ethan Allen, and more - but all in a space of a few years. The additional time he was a pauper in England, suffering incognito.

Noted on February 3, 2018

Sharing the same blood with England, and yet her proved foe in two wars—not wholly inclined at bottom to forget an old grudge—intrepid, unprincipled, reckless, predatory, with boundless ambition, civilized in externals but a savage at heart, America is, or may yet be, the Paul Jones of nations.

Quoted on February 3, 2018

[a lesson from Ben Franklin]
My honest friend, if you are poor, avoid wine as a costly luxury; if you are rich, shun it as a fatal indulgence. Stick to plain water. And now, my good friend, if you are through with your meal, we will rise. There is no pastry coming. Pastry is poisoned bread. Never eat pastry.

Quoted on February 3, 2018

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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