"An expedition into the troubled soul of one of the world's greatest songwriters."--Haaretz
"A fascinating and intense account of Leonard Cohen's time in Israel during the 19-day Yom Kippur War of 1973. A must for any Leonard Cohen completist."--Suzanne Vega
A Vanity Fair Best Book of 2022 * Mosaic Magazine Best Book of 2022
The untold story of Leonard Cohen's concert tour to the front lines of the Yom Kippur War, including never-before-seen selections from an unfinished manuscript by Cohen and rare photographsIn October 1973, the poet and singer Leonard Cohen--thirty-nine years old, famous, unhappy, and at a creative dead end--traveled to the chaos and bloodshed of the Sinai desert when Egypt attacked Israel on the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur. Moving around the front with a group of local musicians, Cohen sang for hundreds of young soldiers, men and women at the worst moment of their lives. Those who survived never forgot the experience. And the war transformed Cohen, reigniting his creativity and inspiring him to compose some of his most memorable songs. Who by Fire provides a riveting account of those weeks in the Sinai, drawing on Cohen's previously unpublished writing and original reporting to create a kaleidoscopic depiction of a harrowing, existential moment for both a young country at war and a singer at a crossroads.
About the Author
Matti Friedman is an award-winning journalist and author. Born in Toronto and based in Jerusalem, he writes frequently for The Atlantic, the Free Press, and Smithsonian, and has been an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and an AP correspondent. Friedman's last book, Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel, won the 2019 Natan Prize. Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story of a Forgotten War was chosen in 2016 as a New York Times Notable Book and one of Amazon's 10 best books of the year. His first book, The Aleppo Codex, won the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize and the ALA's Sophie Brody Medal.