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In the course of a 30-year career as a journalist and author, Samuel G. Freedman has written thousands of articles and four books devoted to the lives of other people. Now he has turned his abilities as a reporter and writer to his own flesh and blood—specifically, to his mother, Eleanor Hatkin Freedman, who died in 1974, when she was 50 and Samuel was 19. The resulting book, Who She Was: My Search for My Mother’s Life (Simon & Schuster), traces Eleanor’s coming-of-age in an immigrant Jewish family against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II. Eleanor earned her bachelor’s degree in 1949 at the City College School of Business Administration—what is now Baruch. This excerpt takes her there on the day after the Pearl Harbor attack.



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