JACK BLACK, YOU CAN’T WIN

The Matt Gonzalez Reader

first published in the The Recorder, August 23, 2000

vs-jackblack06Jack Black

JACK BLACK RIDES THE RAILS AGAIN.

A book review

by Matt Gonzalez

[You Can’t Win by Jack Black. Introduction by William Burroughs. Afterward by Michael Disend. AK Press, 2000, $16.]

ANY AUTOBIOGRAPHY DEDICATED to the fellow who picked buckshot out of the authors back under a bridge at Baraboo, Wis., and to another fellow who sawed the author out of the San Francisco County Jail must be a hell of a read. Legendary beat writer William Burroughs thought so, as have hundreds of other readers who have managed to get their hands on Jack Black’s elusive You Can’t Win, a turn-of-the-century hobo/burglar memoir first published in 1926. Now reissued by AK Press, this printing will be welcomed by all those ready to live the outlaw life, if only vicariously.

Black’s matter-of-fact treatment of the hobo life resonates with…

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