A bestseller in 1924, this vivid piece of outlaw history has inexplicably faded from the public consciousness. Jim Tully takes us across the seamy underbelly of pre-WWI America on freight trains, and inside hobo jungles and brothels while narrowly averting railroad bulls (cops) and wardens of order.
Written with unflinching honesty and insight, Beggars of Life follows Tully from his first ride at age thirteen, choosing life on the road over a deadening job, through his teenage years of learning the ropes of the rails and -living one meal to the next.
Tully’s direct, confrontational approach helped shape the hard-boiled school of writing, and later immeasurably influenced the noir genre. Beggars of Life was the first in Tully’s five-volume memoir, dubbed the “Underworld Edition,” recalling his transformation from road-kid to novelist, journalist, Hollywood columnist, chain maker, boxer, circus handyman, and tree surgeon.
Jim Tully (1891-1947) was a best-selling novelist and popular Hollywood journalist in the 1920s and ’30s. Known as “Cincinnati Red” during his years as a road-kid, he counted prizefighter and publicist of Charlie Chaplin among his many jobs. He is considered (with Dashiel Hammett) one of the inventors of the hard-boiled style of American writing.
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