Onward with my expedition into “later Melville,” I started Israel Potter this morning. Quite a comedown after the high-flying Pierre. According to the Library of America editors, Melville patched together this presumably true story of the adventures of a Revolutionary War patriot from Potter’s own ghost-written account and a variety of other sources. The result, so far, is readable but not much else; Melville is clearly writing under restraints. My guess is he wrote the book in hopes of an easy dollar.