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You Can't Win: A Story from Life: A Story from Life
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“Much of this book is about loneliness. Yet its pages are bracingly companionable. It is one of the friendliest books ever written. It is a superb piece of autobiography, testimony that cannot be impeached. While it is a statement of an American tragedy, it has laughter, brevity, style; as a book to pass the time away with, it is in a class with the best fiction.” – Carl Sandburg, New York World “Nothing half as rewarding has come down the highway of books about thieves, tramps, murderers, bootleggers and crooks in years “ – New Republic “I believe Jack Black has written a remarkable book; it is vivid and picturesque; it is not fiction; it is a book that was needed and it should be widely read.” – Clarence Darrow, New York Herald Tribune 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 plainspoken but colorful 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 life outside the law and honor among thieves. AUTHOR: The travelling criminal known as Jack Black was born in 1872 and disappeared in 1932. Black spent most of his life as a petty thief, opium addict, and convict. His matter-of-fact autobiography, You Can’t Win, was published in 1926, and its stranger-than-fiction accounts of hobo life exercised an enormous influence on William Burroughs and other Beat novelists.
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