I was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 23, 1924, the oldest of three children. My parents were themselves the children of immigrants. They had to earn a living as soon as they finished secondary school. So my sisters, my cousins and I were the first generation of our family to attend a university. I was educated, and well educated, in the neighborhood public schools of New York City. I was good at school from the very beginning, but not very intellectual until my last year in high school. Then one of those teachers who make a difference taught me to read the great 19th century French and Russian novelists, and to take ideas seriously. I won a scholarship to Harvard College and arrived there in September 1940.
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