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A Broken Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen's Secret Chord [Kindle Edition]

Liel Leibovitz
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £14.99
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Book Description

In this philosophical biography, Liel Leibovitz looks at what it is that makes musician/philosopher/poet Leonard Cohen an enduring international figure in the cultural imagination. Born into a Canadian religious Jewish family, for years a reclusive lyricist on the Greek island of Hydra, known for his bold political commentary, his devotion to Buddhist thought and his later despair over contemporary Zionism, Cohen hardly follows the rules of a conventional rock star. Yet the prophetic themes of his music, often filled with pessimism and apocalyptic visions, prove redemptive to an audience that spans generations, from those who listened in the 1960’s to today. As Leonard Cohen requires, this is a passionate and personal evocation of a man who appeals to the inner spirit of his fervent followers.

Product Description


'Provokes thought and emotion on every page.' - Richard Holloway 'He clearly loves Leonard and those who love Leonard will enjoy - and maybe even love - Leibovitz.' - Michael Simmons, Mojo '... this illuminating critical biography.' - Alan Taylor, The Herald 'Leibovitz's well-written, non gossipy book is a TREASURE and a must-have for all Cohen fans.' - Val Hennessy

About the Author

Liel Leibovitz is the author/co-author of four books that include The Chosen Peoples (Simon & Schuster, 2010) with Todd Gitlin, and with Matthew Miller Lili Marlene: The Soldiers' Song of WWII (Norton, 2009) and Fortunate Sons: The 120 Chinese Boys who Came to America, Went to School, and Revolutionized an Ancient Civilization (Norton, 2011). Leibovitz is assistant professor of Communications at New York University and an editor at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish life and culture.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1753 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sandstone Press (15 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IHH37YO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #155,452 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Cohen and Judaism 23 May 2014
It seems to me that the main thrust of this well written book is Leonard Cohen’s Jewishness and the effect this has had on his life and work, most especially the work. Not being of that faith myself I found this notion, when applied by Liel Leibovitz, to be quite revealing. With regard to his relationship, if that is the word, with the state of Israel I wonder if he is completely comfortable and suspect not. This area is a minefied, of course, but it is good to see it being at least treated. The book is beautifully designed and produced, a real treat to just hold in the hand. Downsides? Not too many. I don’t think the author’s adulation is a barrier to the truth and, yes, I love Mr Cohen just that little bit more now
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Deep Reader VINE VOICE
Liel Leibovitz has obviously immersed himself in the life of his subject. A Broken Hallelujah is an intensely readable account of the life of Leonard Cohen containing a certain amount of new information but also presenting him in a cohering, self-contained narrative. All the great moments are here: the outsider status, the influences, the songs and personalities. For all fans, and all interested in the era, including those of us who lived through it, this is a book not to be missed. As a volume it is beautifully designed and produced with fascinating photographs, a fitting match for the author's golden prose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is a dichotomy here. The opening line of the Amazon review refers to this book as a biography, yet the first sentence of Leil Leibovitz's preface in "A Broken Hallelujah" says this is not a biography of Leonard Cohen. Yet, the book does progress chronologically through his life. What is it then if not the story of the poet and singer's life? I fear it is an overly intellectualised examination of the man and his material that tips over into the incomprehensible. It is fine when it does come back to earth with accounts of his tour of Israeli armed forces outposts in 1973 and in the description of what sounds like one of the great mismatches of modern times: the perhaps gnomic Leonard Cohen and the almost certainly mad, bad and dangerous to know Phil Spector.

Otherwise, I fear that Mr Leibovitz only succeeds in proving that most artists, musicians and similar talented people are best appreciated when they do what they do and not being described in a book. One exception I can think of is John Lennon. The biography written by Ray Coleman was very good, mostly because by then Lennon was more interesting for what he did outside of music. Much of the music he produced post-Beatles, "Imagine" apart, was fairly banal. Put it another way, in his excellent but slim volume, "The Painted Word", the author Tom Wolfe imagines a situation where a 6in x 6in painting on a gallery wall has a descriptive piece 6FT x 6FT next to it.
I think I'm safe in saying that colleges offer degree courses in Dylan studies these days. He wrote some wonderful songs but we are all capable of getting from them what we want as we are from looking at great works of art and as we are from the poems and songs of Leonard Cohe.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Take on Leonard Cohen 26 May 2014
This is a highly readable life story of the great Leonard Cohen. It describes his early life in Montreal, later adventures in Greece and Cuba. All this was mostly new to me and I think will be to many fans. Wonderful photographs too. It’s a mix of the spiritual and material with lots on the origins of the songs. There’s everything to like in this book, and Leonard keeps going. Thank goodness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm left with the strong impression that this is somebody simply recycling large chunks of their doctrinal thesis ......... or similar. It's the book that's fundamentally 'broken' .......... or at least very fragmented.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought for my son, a Cohen fan, he is enjoying it immensely.
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By tommac
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
expected more detail re the man and the music and was disappointed by the frequent excursions into the possible religious connotations.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a present for my mother and we are both delighted with it.
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