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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Charlie LeDuff gives his incomparable take on the city and its denizens-the bars, the workingmen, the gamblers, the eccentrics, the lonesome, and the wise.

Work and Other Sins is filled to burst with stories of the fascinating, one-of-a-kind characters who populate the modern metropolis. In these pages we meet a Long Island us
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 26th 2004 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published January 1st 2003)
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Christopher Higgins
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 21, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Matthew Taub
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Camille McCarthy
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
John Gonzalez
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Dave Goldberg
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Short articles from ten years ago. Really not worth your time.
Chris Ritchie
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
great collection of Charlie LeDuff's old column from NYT capturing disappearing aspects of New York City life on the fringes.
Paul Bauer
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Le Duff captures New York like no one since Joseph Mitchell.
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent collection of quick "day in the life" stories of people that we all would never think about.
Patrick Nichol
Jul 30, 2011 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.
May 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Mandy Sulik
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Liz Gnidovec
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
author is comfortable talking to folks who are not usually accessible to the general audience in a deep way. important slices of life.
May 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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...
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a lot like the stories and people in it, not good or bad but interesting. I drank more than normal while reading it.
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Love the story. Charlie is a great columnist and really reads as a cohesive set.
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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
More about Charlie LeDuff...