“You Can’t Win” is the 1926 autobiography of a petty criminal whose career spanned from reconstruction to the depression. Fun and colorful writing, great stories, lots of lowlife flavor.
It’s moralistic and dire in a Victorian way, true to the 19th century sources. But it also glories in the noir crime style that was just taking off around the 1920s.
Here’s an excerpt describing rock bottom bars around the turn of the 19th century.