You Can't Win (Paperback)

By Jack Black, Joe Coleman (Illustrator), William S. Burroughs (Foreword by)
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Staff Reviews

At last! My bookselling days are now complete! With AK Press reissuing my favorite book of all time, I can ride the rails into the sunset, as my "want list as long as my arm" customers can buy a new copy of this and not have to wait for a rare, OP copy to stumble in. Much more than crime, much more than an autobiography of San Francisco's greatest hobo thief, You Can't Win is an entertaining, engrossing testament to an era very long gone. Masterful!

— Kevin H.


"You Can t Win," the beloved memoir of real lowdown Americana by criminal hobo Jack Black, was first published in 1926, then reprinted in 1988 by Adam Parfrey's Amok Press, featuring an introduction by William S. Burroughs.

After its Amok Press edition went out of print, "You Can t Win "found popularity once again with the AK Press edition.

Feral House's new version will take this classic American narrative a lot further, including two remarkable nonfiction articles by Jack Black written for "Harper's Magazine" in the 1920s. Remarkable illustrations by Joe Coleman and new biographical revelations by Donald Kennison will round out the new edition.

A full-length feature film of "You Can t Win "starring "Boardwalk Empire"'s Michael Pitt is expected to be released in spring 2013.

About the Author

Joe Coleman lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Whitney.

Born in 1914 to a wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri, William S. Burroughs was one of the most significant people in twentieth-century American popular culture and literature. A novelist, poet, and essayist, he was a primary member of the Beat Generation, influential upon such writers as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Burroughs was the author of eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories, and four collections of essays, among them the 1959 classic Naked Lunch. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died at his home in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1997.

Bill Morgan is a writer and archival consultant. His previous books include The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation; I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg; and Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the Beat Generation in America. He has edited several collections of letters by Beat writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Gary Snyder. Morgan has worked as the archivist of many writers, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Oliver Sacks, Michael McClure, Abbie Hoffman, and Arthur Miller. He currently lives with his wife in an old farmhouse at the base of a Vermont mountain.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781936239610
ISBN-10: 1936239612
Publisher: Feral House
Publication Date: June 25th, 2013
Pages: 317
Language: English