Go to New York State Writers Institute
Nonfiction Writer and Journalist
Samuel Freedman

Samuel Freedman
April 12, 2005

4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar
Standish Room, New Library

8:00 p.m. Reading
Recital Hall, PAC

UAlbany, Uptown Campus

Who She Was: A Son's Search for His Mother's Life

A journalist who has received numerous awards for investigative journalism and feature writing, Samuel Freedman is the author of several bestselling nonfiction books about American life.

Freedman's newest book is "Who She Was: My Search for My Mother's Life" (2005), an evocation of the vanished Jewish immigrant Bronx of the 1930s and '40s, and a complex portrait of Freedman's mother, Eleanor Hatkin Freedman, who died of breast cancer almost thirty years ago at the age of fifty. In writing the book, Freedman tells the reader that he was motivated by a painful sense of regret over the disregard he had shown as a teenage boy for his terminally ill mother, about whose past he knew very little. Freedman attempts to overcome his feelings of regret by asking all the questions he had not asked when his mother was alive: Whom did she love? Who broke her heart? What lifted her spirits? What crushed her hopes? What did she long to become? And did she get to become that woman in her brief time on earth?

"terrifically intimate, heroic, harrowing and heartbreaking." - "Kirkus Reviews"

"´┐Ża marvel of re-creative history. Eleanor Hatkin emerges from this work as fully and unsparingly realized as any heroine in modern American literature; and here lies a secondary marvel: for all its journalistic exactitude, every page reads as dramatically taut and willfully crafted as a novel." - Novelist Richard Price

Jew vs. Jew

Freedman received the National Jewish Book Award for "Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry" (2000), an examination of conflict and divisiveness within the Jewish community. "The Inheritance: How Three Families and America Moved from Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond" (1996), an intimate study of rightward American political trends, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Among other things, the book features a description of a rightward shift in politics at the local level in Albany County, focusing specifically on the experiences of the Maeby family of Colonie, NY.

Freedman's 1993 book, "Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church," received the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. His 1990 examination of life at a troubled New York City high school, "Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School," was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Samuel G. Freedman has worked as a reporter for the Bridgewater, NJ "Courier-News," the "Chicago Tribune's Suburban Trib," and the "New York Times." He contributes articles and reviews on a frequent basis to the "New York Times," "Salon" and "Rolling Stone," and serves as a contributing correspondent for PBS's "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly."

A professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, Freedman received the Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1997.

Samuel Freedman Home Page