Download Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York's Underground Economy Audiobook

Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New Yorks Underground Economy Audiobook, by Sudhir Venkatesh Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Sudhir Venkatesh Narrator: Sudhir Venkatesh Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2013 ISBN: 9780698136045
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The acclaimed Columbia University sociologist and author of Gang Leader for a Day returns to the streets to connect the dots of New York’s divergent economic worlds and crack the code of the city’s underground economy. Based on Venkatesh’s interviews with prostitutes and socialites, immigrants and academics, high-end drug bosses and street-level dealers, Floating City exposes the underground as the city’s true engine of social transformation and economic prosperity—revealing a wholly unprecedented vision of New York.
A memoir of sociological investigation, Floating City draws from Venkatesh’s decade of research within the affluent communities of Upper East Side socialites and Midtown businessmen, the drug gangs of Harlem and the sex workers of Brooklyn, the artists of Tribeca and the escort services of Hell’s Kitchen. Venkatesh arrived in the city after his groundbreaking research in Chicago, where crime remained stubbornly local: Gangs stuck to their housing projects and criminals stayed on their corners. But in Floating City, Venkatesh discovers that New York’s underground economy unites instead of divides inhabitants: a vast network of “off the books” transactions linking the high and low worlds of the city. Venkatesh shows how dealing in drugs and sex and undocumented labor bridges the conventional divides between rich and poor, unmasking a city knit together by the invisible threads of the underground economy.
Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy chronicles Venkatesh’s decade of discovery and loss in the shifting terrain of New York, where research subjects might disappear suddenly and new allies emerge by chance, where close friends might reveal themselves to be criminals of the lowest order. Propelled by Venkatesh’s numerous interviews and firsthand research, Floating City at its heart is a story of one man struggling to understand a complex global city constantly in the throes of becoming. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “In offering vivid portraits of sources with so much to lose, [Floating City] is journalism of a very high order.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A fascinating on-the-spot exploration of New York City’s vast underground economy. Drawing on extensive interviews with prostitutes, madams, drug dealers, and illegal workers, he exposes a hidden realm where class, race, and neighborhoods lose their distinctness. Floating City serves as a provocative introduction to a new economy. Editor’s recommendation.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • “Crime and vice are the ties that bind an unlikely community of New Yorkers in this fascinating X-ray of the city…Venkatesh focuses on the sex trade: ghetto streetwalkers, Ivy League grads moonlighting as call girls, smug Wall Street johns who insist their dalliances strengthen their marriages, and an heiress who sets herself up as a madam. Venkatesh’s engrossing narrative dissects the intricacies of illegal commerce and the subtle ways it both divides and entwines different classes and races, while painting rich, novelistic portraits of its participants and their dreams of self-reinvention. Meanwhile, he weathers his own identity…as a chronicler of a city on the make.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Venkatesh has a talent for transforming ethnographic observations into character-driven accounts…Verdict: At times Venkatesh is overly reflective on his status as a ‘rogue sociologist’ who challenges the academy rather than focusing on the questions he is probing. Nonetheless, this is an exciting and compelling work for general readers. It relies heavily on narrative techniques and is light on theory and figures. Readers interested in the daily workings of the illicit economy will be fascinated by the complexities and contradictions of the underground economy that Venkatesh details.”

    Library Journal

  • “A well-known sociologist explores how the underground economy is dissolving racial and class barriers in an increasingly globalized New York City…The author displays a piercing sense of empathy and ability to translate dry sociological principles into an understanding of the difficult lives of the urban poor. Less effective are his reveries on his own changing personal circumstances…Although the overall narrative is unwieldy and at times indulgent, Venkatesh has established a singular voice in urban sociology, and his immersive research and insights remain penetrating and unique. Will appeal to readers fascinated by the intersections of class, prosperity and crime.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The author’s narration of his own work is especially instructive and illustrative because of his familiarity with his subjects.”


  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book for September 2013
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013

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About the Author

Sudhir Venkatesh is the William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology and a member of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is the author of Gang Leader for a Day, a New York Times bestseller that received a best book of the year award from the Economist. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. He lives in New York City.