The New York Times carries a column by its book critic Dwight Garner about the 1993 book "Travels With Lizbeth: Three Years On The Road And In The Streets," by Lars Eighner. Mr. Garner contends that it "contains the finest first-person writing we have about the experience of being homeless in America." Mr. Garner writes:
The author recognizes that Austin is a good place to be homeless. The weather is temperate; the city's politics are liberal. Eighner maintains a bitter running critique of the city's welfare services, however. He spies "a general contempt for the poor" in their uselessness.
He argues that whatever its stated purpose, the welfare system does less to help poor people than to provide jobs for social workers. He despises their Volvos.
He might have been able to find housing and assistance if only he had been addicted to something or had children or was maimed.