You Can't Win (Paperback)

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You Can't Win By Jack Black Cover Image
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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.


A major influence on William S. Burroughs and other Beat writers, this lost classic was written by Jack Black, a drifter and small-time criminal. Born in 1872, Black hit the road at the age of 16 and spent most of his life as a vagabond. In this plain-spoken but colorful 1926 memoir, he recaptures a hobo underworld of the early twentieth century, a time when it was possible to pass anonymously from town to town.

Black's firsthand accounts of hopping trains, burglaries, prison, and drug addiction offer a compelling portrait of this seedy side of life a hundred years ago.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781773237978
ISBN-10: 1773237977
Publisher: Must Have Books
Publication Date: May 11th, 2021
Pages: 208
Language: English