Irving Abrahamson grew up on the West Side of Chicago, graduated from Marshall High School in 1943, served in the U.S. Navy (1944-46). He returned home from duty in the Pacific and China to become part of the storied post-War G.I. Bill Generation that changed America. He graduated with a B.A. from Roosevelt University, then with an M.A. from the University of Chicago. He won his doctorate from the University in 1956. He taught English at Roosevelt University, briefly at the University of Illinois (at Navy Pier), then joined the faculty of the Chicago City Colleges (Wilson and Kennedy-King) in 1956, retiring as a Professor of English in 1988.
Outside the formal academic world, from 1970 to 1989 he was a frequent book reviewer for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and other publications. He compiled uncollected and unpublished works of Elie Wiesel and edited them into the definitive three volume Against Silence: The Voice and Vision of Elie Wiesel, published in 1985, shortly before Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace. He was a Special Advisor to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, the forerunner of the Museum.
His work at various times as script editor and/or story consultant for Carlo Ponti (Champion Films) and Zev Braun Productions took him to Rome and Hollywood for work on a number of feature films, among them: The Pedestrian (directed by Maximilian Schell and starring him); The Babysitter (directed by Rene Clement, starring Maria Schneider and Robert Vaughn); The Flower in His Mouth (directed by Luigi Zampa, starring Jennifer O”Neill, James Mason, Franco Nero); Angela (directed by Boris Sagal, starring Sophia Loren). He was story consultant for Howard Fast’s Freedom Road, a TV mini-series directed by Jan Kadar and starring Muhammad Ali.
He has traveled widely with his wife Perle. One of their trips has become The Whole Story.