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on 28 February 1999
From train tracks to opium dens, and finally to the stability of a job at the San Francisco Public Library, Jack Black writes a very personal account of adventure, hardship, loneliness, and longing. I absolutely loved this book. Black is a wonderfully interesting person, and his story is like none that I have ever found anywhere else--the story of a hobo in the early 1900's, who steals, does drugs, lives like a bum, rides the trains, and eventually decides he's had enough, settling down to a more conventional lifestyle.
He is the kind of person you want to meet and have a beer with. When the book was over I lent it to every person I cared about and they all loved it too.
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on 22 December 2003
"You can't win" is one of the greatest books ever written. Why? Forget all the second-hand fake tragedy and the middle-class angst of the writers you were made to study in school. This is a story told by someone who has experienced real pain and loss as well as true joy. There is more truth about the human condition in this book than in all of Dickens, Austen etc in fact most of the stuff academics waste their time building up or knocking down. If you are browsing, please get yourself a copy of this book. I truly believe that if everyone read this book the world would be a little better.
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on 13 April 2001
An incredibly fascinating tale of the real life of a thief, bum, "yegg" and ultimately reformed character. I put it up there with "Autobiography of a Supertramp", Orwell's "Down and Out" and Jack London's "People of the Abyss". JB is honest about the corrupt lawmen yet has the guts to admire the straight ones. Good stuff!
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on 8 July 1999
this was a fascinating book about adventure and theft, addiction and life before and after the stock market crash in the u.s.. read this book. really. i mean it.
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on 24 April 2016
The sort of book I might not read twice.
The sort of book that tells how a thief can become Robin Hood by writing a book.
A book about personal opinion and spin.
Not a book about social concience or heroics.
The only book I have I might not buy if I didn't already have it.
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on 10 April 2014
Tough and gritty tale of a criminal and the life he leads. Poor cover but great little book. A bit depressing but then again it says it all in the title!
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on 12 February 2016
simply brilliant from start to finish , are there more or is this a one off.i certainly won with you can't win by Jack Black .
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on 5 June 2011
A great book this one but I was a little disappointed by the presentation and packaging.

It looks like someone who had no idea about design designed the cover. There's an awful clip art picture on the front, no blurb on the back, no price, nothing.

The one saving grace is that the text is all there!!
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