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Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets Hardcover – March 17, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Writer, veteran and native Manhattanite Cadillac Man exposes the hidden world of the homeless in this riveting collection of stories from his sixteen years on the streets of New York City. Following the heartbreaking deterioration of his marriage, Cadillac finds himself wandering New York with no destination, comforted by the memories of his young daughter and haunted by his failures. With an uncanny sense of humor and invention, Cadillac uses everyday objects most take for granted (soda cans, discarded beach chairs, toy wagons) to build a life for himself, literally, from the ground up. Cadillac guides readers through streets most people don't (or choose not to) see, introducing the outcasts he comes to value most: singers, teen runaways, pimps, prostitutes and a few unlikely angels. Excruciating details of fist-fights and romantic escapades leave little to the imagination, rendering Cadillac's world intimate, scary and touching; it becomes clear that his survival and sanity depend not only on crafty methods of making money, but also on journaling (excerpts from which have appeared in Esquire magazine). A surprising find, Cadillac lets readers in on a rarely seen community, revealing the compassionate hearts that beat even in the most despairing circumstances.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The army veteran known as Cadillac Man began living on the streets of New York in 1994 and has been there ever since. His memoir is vulgar, sexually explicit (occasionally), and written in a style that ranges from polished to awkward. It is also, from first page to last, tragic, comic, dramatic, and emotionally charged. Cadillac Man describes his life on the streets in precise detail: how to survive, how to eat, how to keep clean and warm. His world is frequently bleak, naturally, but the bleakness is punctuated by moments of surprising humor and joy and by encounters with an assortment of strange and wonderfully interesting people, some of whom feel like they’ve stepped off the pages of the Great American Novel. In fact, the book feels, from time to time, as though it could be a novel, prompting the reader to wonder if Cadillac Man is engaging in a bit of “creative autobiography.” On the other hand, who’s to say everything didn’t happen just the way he says it did? Either way, the book is a vivid portrait of the life of a street person. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596914068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596914063
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A friend recommended this book and once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I guess for me, like for most people, homeless people were always just part of the landscape. Cadillac Man shows us what day to day life is like on the streets. He's not coming at you with a message; he's just telling stories, the way he would if you sat down with him for coffee for a few hours. He's funny and warm and a natural storyteller. Life on the streets is hard, of course, but it's also full of adventure and even has its hilarious moments. The episodes with the character Chocolate Milk, for example, are hysterical. And the story of "Penny," the girlfriend he finds on the streets, is heartbreaking.

Cadillac Man also makes you understand how a person can end up on the streets. He might not have made the same choices another person would make, but you can really understand how the streets make sense for him. He has an enormous heart and a tremendously compassionate soul, and he quickly comes to love and protect "his people" on the streets. This book makes you realize the depths of experience and suffering and endurance that every homeless person must possess.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am autistic and I also have 13 other disabilities. Reading and writing has always come hard to me but I do enjoy reading immensely. I'm an old autistic werewolf so I have been reading books for over 50 years now. Growing up disabled and autistic I was a nerd \ geek so I spent most of my childhood in libraries. Readong became my my most treasured passion in a life where sports and other such childhood pursuits were too often out of my reach. So for me reading was my refuge from the mean streets. I share this so when you hear me say this is the best book I've ever read you know my background as a reader and lover of great books.

I don't throw around the term "MUST READ" lightly. However Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets has moved me so profoundly as to leave me without words enugh to convey my awe. I spent my youth helping the homeless when I was so totally idealistic. I know the things Cadillac Mn speaks of in his book are true to what it is to live on inner city streets. I helped homeless people and even I never could write about the experience with the insight and passion Cadillac Man has managed.

This book is a must read because; better than any other book I've read on homelessness Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets is an uncompromised look into life as it is experienced by a homeless man. I've rarely if ever been afraid of homeless peope but I've always been careful in their midst till I know them but that is true with anyone. Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets brought me to tears more than a few times. Penny wormed her way into my heart. Also the gentleman who talked constantly on the street corner so much like me enjoyed the sound of his own voice.
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Format: Hardcover
A well told, expertly edited first person account of street homelessness, Cadillac tells it like it is and as it happened according to daily journals he has kept for over a decade. A must-read certainly to the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writing keep me interested. Initially was suspicious re actual existence and many strength of social supports reported among street people. Have never noticed them talking to each other. Distrust Cadillac mans self portrait as a person of strong values, a sort or robin hood of the streets. Also find questionable his allegations of all the stuff he carries on his cart for hygiene and wound care from baby wipes to peroxide; dressings + antibiotic ointment . Also living in NYC have never noted a street person too proud to accept $ handouts. Difficult to feel any sympathy given that he seems to present his life as now chosen and much preferred rather than a low paying job where he would be expected to be accountable for his time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Poverty from a very eloquent side. The book is about the last rung of the ladder, but the narrator comes across a lively, world savvy individual. Hard to believe that he's gained enough notoriety to have written a book. There is hope for all homeless out there that care to write a book, and have what it takes. Life on the streets is never easy, but for some reason there is some order to it, like different places to go, or for that matter to sleep, where to get money from recyclables, these people are most of the times tougher than they may look. I found the book entertaining, very impressed with the fluid narration. 3.5 Stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a quick read, which is good, because I DID find it hard to put down. Poignant stories - well written by a very sensitive man. I felt like I was right there with him. Interesting insights into life on the streets of New York City. I found this book well worth my time. (Reviewer is a 65 yr. old male.)
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book!! The author is truly a gifted writer. It was the most interesting, funny, heart ripping and fascinating book about being homeless I ever read. I always wondered what happened to Cadillac man. He also shows that NYC is not the nasty evil filth hole that we are led to believe in the media...there are actually some seriously generous, kind and loving people out there in that city. The story about the woman and her kids who went into the diner and had only a couple of bucks left for food was stunning. I can't believe this didn't get onto the NY Times Best seller list. Reading this makes me glad I still have a roof over my head for now. His stories relating to what happened to him on the streets is terrifying (and this guy is a big guy too). It's also telling how close and protective some of his friends were with each other on the streets. He doesn't romanticize street life at all, he tells it like it is for those who haven't been unfortunate enough to be homeless yet. The brutality and day to day life of what he lived is there in black and white, as well as how he survived and even helped out the person he loved. Awesome story. I highly recommend it. You really can't put it down, at least I sure couldn't. I hope that Cadillac man is doing good wherever he is.
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