"In the Open" describes an existence most people can barely imagine. A first-hand account of one man's struggle with homelessness and alcoholism, this diary records a world full of physical degradation and despair that is not without unpredictable moments of striking beauty. Donohue's experiences are brutal, but his perceptions are poetic. This account of an intelligent and sensitive man in the grip of alcoholism and homelessness challenges our perceptions of those on the margins of American contemporary life. Donohue recorded this often-moving account during a four-year period of homelessness caused by his alcoholism. There are many observations here on a range of topics, including human nature, technology, and capitalism. Donohue's life on the fringe also provides an inside look at the homeless system of overnight shelters, labour offices, and food-stamp providers.