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Work and Other Sins: Life in New York City and Thereabouts

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  214 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Charlie LeDuff is that rare breed of news reporter--one who can cover hard-to-get-at stories in a unique and deeply personal style. In Work and Other Sins, he gives his incomparable take on New York City and its denizens--the bars, the workingmen, the gamblers, the eccentrics, the lonesome, and the wise. Whether writing about a racetrack gambler, a firefighter with a broke ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Christopher Higgins
I made my feelings known about Charlie LeDuff in the review I did for "Detroit: An American Autopsy" and reading the older "Work and Other Sins" did nothing to dampen them. Work is a collection of pieces from the Times that introduce you the also rans and little knowns of New York City and the surrounding areas from the late 90's to early 2002. LeDuff is no doubt a friend of the working man/woman and his portrayals really give you a sense of walking in their The brief length of most of the chapt ...more
Matthew Taub
Jun 12, 2009 Matthew Taub rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charlie LeDuff believes he is doing justice for the many overlooked "average Joes" in a city that more often focuses on the life and times of the rich and powerful. A collection of expanded essays and columns he wrote for the New York Times, this book illuminates private and less successful lives, often with glaring portraits of pain, misery, and lives unfulfilled. At times, he tends to over-glorify lives that really deserve to be considered average-- the life and times of unsavory characters (a ...more
Camille McCarthy
Mar 30, 2015 Camille McCarthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really enjoyable collection of short articles about everyday people living in New York (and a few stories about people working at a slaughterhouse in North Carolina). I especially liked the articles which were related to the September 11 terrorist attacks since the author really tried to capture the feelings of the people who were so affected by that event, people who lost friends or family members, and the way that event really changed everything for people living in New York. I als ...more
This was my 'riding on the train' go-to book cuz it had short chapters and i have this ocd about dog-earing or bookmarking and leaving off reading a part of a book w/o at least finding a space between paragraphs or the end of the chapter or beginning of a new one. This is book is, i believe, a compilation of articles/stories he did for some NY newspaper from about 1995-2001. They are mainly about all the different people you could possibly meet in any of the 5 boroughs and in any of the neighbor ...more
Oct 11, 2007 MikeS rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Work and Other Sins is essentially a compilation of articles written by Times reporter Charlie LeDuff about the various jobs and characters in and around the Big, sometimes rotten, Apple. Most of the articles are fairly interesting and insightful, paying tribute to the city’s underbelly, which is littered with castaways, runaways, heroes, villains, and like Bennett Miller’s wonderful documentary, The Cruise, some of the most unique personalities you will find.

Deke Johnson, Keith Unfri
Jan 07, 2014 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlie LeDuff is a fantastic writer and this book is a representative collection of his striking articles. LeDuff has an intriguing style: exceedingly objective yet sympathetic- fastidiously referring to himself in the third person (a "reporter") whenever otherwise unavoidable. Through this objectivity, LeDuff portrays his subjects so poignantly and personally with a hint of melancholy.

LeDuff's writings (here at least) are centered primarily around regular, working people. The most powerful col
Jul 26, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great collection of articles about life in New York written by New York Times columnist Charlie LeDuff. The stories do not focus on the Park Ave, Madison Ave, or Wall Street types. It follows the tribulations of people from the outskirts of Queens, the bars of the Bowery, and the lonely in the Village. It's a poetic and fascinating look into the lives of your everyday New Yorker and the flavor that truly encompasses the greatest city in the world. It's moving and at times, disturbing a ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Jeramey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique look at many of the overlooked people of New York City. Would have been nice to have dates with some of the pieces (some, but not all did). It was a very easy read.
May 16, 2014 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
These aren't even short stories exactly, just snippets of profiles of interesting people. Too often I wished the "visit" would be more than just a couple of pages long.
Mar 15, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book on a whim, while looking for books on 1970's NYC at the Strand. It is full of wonderful (mostly 2 - 4 page) true tales of real New Yorkers. The topics that the book wanders through are bars, odd professions, city workers, writers, dock workers, hookers, businesspeople, and so many more. As a New Yorker I loved both reading stories about people and places i know, as well as some surprising and wonderful things I never could have even imagined.
PS I read it on vacation in Vieque
Mar 13, 2014 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It feels very much like a collection of newspaper feature stories, to its credit and detriment. Some, like the piece on Mohawk ironworkers, are superb. Others seem redundant--one grizzled old-timers in a crappy bar story after another. LeDuff's writing has a macho streak that may turn off some readers, but the best of these pieces are worth anyone's time.
I liked this collection of stories and columns mostly set in New York (though one of the best was set in a North Carolina slaughterhouse) because it shines a light on average people's stories. My favorite is the opener about a doorman retiring from his job. The section on bar life, taken from the author's column on the topic, got a bit repetitive to me. Overall though, LeDuff certainly knows how to capture characters in a few words. I hope to read his book on Detroit soon.
Liz Gnidovec
Apr 27, 2014 Liz Gnidovec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
author is comfortable talking to folks who are not usually accessible to the general audience in a deep way. important slices of life.
Sep 23, 2007 Bullfrog rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nyc lovers, character studies
This is a fantastic collection of stories from Charles LeDuff, all character studies and tales of the down-and-out, the hustlers, the small-time crooks, and the blue-collar nebbishes that make up New York City. You can taste the cheap whiskey and feel the grime on the bartop as you read this book. It's all columns from the City section of the Times, and is as close to a modern Up in the Old Hotel as we're going to get.
Nov 07, 2011 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know the complaints and criticisms about Charlie LeDuff, and I can't say they shouldn't be discussed, but that still doesn't change the importance of this book. This should be the journalist's bible. This is the kind of writing to which reporters should aspire if we are to save newspapers and print news. I can't put it more clearly than this: If we wrote more like this, people would keep reading.
Dave Goldberg
Jan 27, 2008 Dave Goldberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dave by: Jeremiah
A really fun read. From literally hanging out with the guys whose job it is to change the light bulbs on the top of the Empire State Building to following one of the last fur trappers on Long Island, this book takes you to every nook and cranny of New York City and makes you feel like you could be good friends, or at least get along, with everyone you meet.
John Gonzalez
Mar 11, 2008 John Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a very gritty history of the city from the eyes of those who inhabit it - specially in those places we often forget to look. The places seem so much more real because most of us have been to those places or know someone from Howard Beach or Spanish Harlem. A really interesting book - specially if you have ever lived in NYC.
Jun 17, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the best "people story" writing out there. LeDuff respects his subjects but his duty is to his readers, which means you get all the details, even the stuff other writers might leave out because they don't want to hurt a source's feelings. The details are worth the slight betrayals of trust, though.
An interesting series of essays and articles, supposedly about the workers in New York City, but leaning heavily toward the homeless, dispossessed and addicted. Although the overall picture was bleak, there was enough hope shining thru to keep the reader from despair.
Aug 31, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable...He lives up to his previous book...Funny, insightful, interesting, a real look into people's lives and most of all a lesson of others lives that I may never have known...
May 05, 2008 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great collection of short stores, each which profile one of the 99 percent of New Yorkers who lead a non-glamorous, but still completely interesting life. Very fun read.
Jun 01, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable book. I really gained insight to all different types of people. The author has a real ability to "get into people's heads", and communicate their plights.
Mandy Sulik
Did not realize this book was all two page stories on all different people he met throughout NYC. I was hoping for one story line. Either way it was enjoyable.
Patrick Nichol
Jul 30, 2011 Patrick Nichol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is LeDuff's brilliant collection of essays about New York City and the lives of working Americans. A marvekllous piece of literary journalism.
Chris Ritchie
Dec 04, 2013 Chris Ritchie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great collection of Charlie LeDuff's old column from NYT capturing disappearing aspects of New York City life on the fringes.
Mar 08, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of quick "day in the life" stories of people that we all would never think about.
Love the story. Charlie is a great columnist and really reads as a cohesive set.
Jul 22, 2007 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read about this book in the NY Times. I expected something more from this.
Paul Bauer
Mar 22, 2015 Paul Bauer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le Duff captures New York like no one since Joseph Mitchell.
May 09, 2013 Erik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Short articles from ten years ago. Really not worth your time.
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Charlie LeDuff is a writer, filmmaker and a multimedia reporter for The Detroit News. He is a former national correspondent for The New York Times.

He covered the war in Iraq, crossed the desert with a group of migrant Mexicans and worked inside a North Carolina slaughterhouse as part of The Times series “How Race Is Lived in America,” which was awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for National Reportin
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