Item description for You Can't Win by Jack Black...
You hold in your hands a true lost classic, one of the most legendary cult books ever published in America. Jack Black's autobiography was a bestseller and went through five printings in the late 1920's. It has led a mostly subterranean existence since then - best known as William Burrough's favorite book, one he admitted lifting big chunks of from memory for his first novel, Junky. But it's time we got wise to this book, which is itself a remarkably wise book - and a ripping true saga. It's an amazing journey into a hobo underworld; freight hopping around the still wide open West at the turn of the 20th century, becoming a member of the "yegg" (criminal) brotherhood and a highwayman, learning the outlaw philosophy from the Foot-and-a-half George and the Sanctimonious Kid, getting hooked on opium, passing through hobo jungles, hop joints and penitentiaries. This is a chunk of the American story entirely left out of the history books - it's a lot richer and stranger than the official version. This new edition also includes an Afterword that tells some of what became of Black after he wore out the outlaw life and washed up in San Francisco, wrote this book and reinvented himself.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 8.75" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2001
Publisher Nabat Books
ISBN 1902593022 ISBN13 9781902593029
Reviews - What do customers think about You Can't Win?
Well written and historically interesting. Sep 8, 2008
Once I started reading this historical account of life as a hobo, grifter and thief from the turn of the last century, I just couldn't put it down. It was very well written and an interesting telling of life on the road, riding trains and the experience of someone who lived his life on the very edges of regular society. It gives the reader a clear picture of what that experience was like. Although the author is essentially anonymous, using a fictious name, there are glimpses of his real life when he mentions cities, institutions and real people that he visited and knew. A very worthwhile book.
beautiful life and piece of literature Aug 16, 2008
as far as im concerned its the best piece of hobo literature out there. jack black is an amazing writer and it shows. he doesnt try to get your sympathy and is just documenting his life and those surrounding him in a fantastic matter that you think he had spent 20 years on this book.
It's a man's, man's world May 28, 2008
This is an amazing story that drags you into this guy's lonely world. Sexy, it ain't. It's a man's, man's world. It's obvious this guy did some hard time getting all the details down. I guess living it would allow you plenty of ammunition. After reading I had acquired a whole new paranoia regarding breaking and entering. It's depressing and lonely and stark. This is a book that needs to live on and on.
You Can't Win Feb 13, 2008
My son, who this book was purchased for, enjoyed this book very much. Thank you.
Breaking the Shackles Aug 2, 2007
I thought this was a tip-top book. Blacky's adventures out West and in Canada around the turn of the century were very intruiging. I just wish there were more books written by him and not so much of a mystery of what happened to him later in life. Or maybe that's what makes him so appealing. I agree with several others about the "extras" at the end of the book. Especially his article that appeared in Harpers. That could've have been written today.