Matti Friedman’s concise and poetic book recounts Cohen’s highly improvised concert tour of the front lines of the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The little-known episode marks a resurrection of sorts in Cohen’s life. Holed up on the island of Hydra before the war, he was in a personal crisis: Dried up creatively, he had spoken of retirement.
The war deeply rattles his sensibilities and awakens his sense of purpose—within a few months of the war’s end, he releases one of his best albums, New Skin for the Old Ceremony, and reenters the musical world, becoming over time the priestly elder statesman we’ve come to know, the focus of near religious devotion. —Eric Miles, Visuals Editor
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