Eyal Press

Eyal Press is a Puffin Foundation Fellow at Type Media Center, a journalist and author. His most recent book, Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America (2021), examines the morally troubling jobs that are done in our name and the hidden class of workers who do them.

The recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, Press is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times, and other publications. He has received an Andrew Carnegie fellowship, and a Cullman Center fellowship at the New York Public Library and is also the author of Beautiful Souls (2012) and Absolute Convictions (2006).

Recent Work

Something in the Air

Something in the Air

Jessica Robertson got sick working as an inspector at a poultry plant. Now she’s speaking out to defend workers exposed to chemicals.

The Wounds of the Drone Warrior

The Wounds of the Drone Warrior

Even soldiers who fight wars from a safe distance have found themselves traumatized. Could their injuries be moral ones?

Madness

Madness

In Florida prisons, mentally ill inmates have been tortured, driven to suicide, and killed by guards. By Eyal Press in the New Yorker.

Books
Dirty Work

Dirty Work

Drone pilots who carry out targeted assassinations. Undocumented immigrants who man the “kill floors” of industrial slaughterhouses. Guards who patrol the wards of the United States’ most violent and abusive prisons. In Dirty Work, Eyal Press offers a paradigm-shifting view of the moral landscape of contemporary America through the stories of people who perform society’s most ethically troubling jobs. As Press shows, we are increasingly shielded and distanced from an array of morally questionable activities that other, less privileged people perform in our name.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn unprecedented attention to essential workers, and to the health and safety risks to which workers in prisons and slaughterhouses are exposed. But Dirty Work examines a less familiar set of occupational hazards: psychological and emotional hardships such as stigma, shame, PTSD, and moral injury. These burdens fall disproportionately on low-income workers, undocumented immigrants, women, and people of color.

Illuminating the moving, sometimes harrowing stories of the people doing society’s dirty work, and incisively examining the structures of power and complicity that shape their lives, Press reveals fundamental truths about the moral dimensions of work and the hidden costs of inequality in America.

Beautiful Souls

Beautiful Souls

History has produced many specimens of the banality of evil, but what about its flip side, what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention? Through these dramatic stories of unlikely resisters, Eyal Press’ Beautiful Souls shows that the boldest acts of dissent are often carried out not only by radicals seeking to overthrow the system but also by true believers who cling with unusual fierceness to their convictions. Drawing on groundbreaking research by moral psychologists and neuroscientists, this deeply reported work of narrative journalism examines the choices and dilemmas we all face when our principles collide with the loyalties we harbor and the duties we are expected to fulfill.

 

Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict that Divided America

Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict that Divided America

On October 23, 1998, the Buffalo abortion provider Barnett Slepian was killed by a sniper’s bullet fired through the kitchen window of his home. Days later, police informed another local doctor, Shalom Press, that they had received a threat warning that he was “next on the list.” Within hours the Press household was under twenty-four-hour federal marshal protection. America’s violent struggle over abortion – which had already claimed the lives of five doctors and clinic workers – had come to Buffalo.

In Absolute Convictions, Eyal Press returns to his hometown seeking to understand how an issue many people thought was settled decades ago could inspire such rage. Press combines a retelling of his family’s experience with firsthand accounts of protesters arrested outside his father’s office, patients who braved the gauntlet of demonstrators, and politicians who attempted to appease both sides. Through the Press family and the city of Buffalo, a blue-collar town undergoing wrenching economic changes, we see, as never before, the people behind the absolute convictions that have divided our nation for the past three decades.

Donate

We depend upon the generous support of individuals and institutions committed to a free and independent press, civil liberties, and social justice. We are a 501(c)(3) public foundation, and donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by law.

YOU MAKE OUR WORK POSSIBLE

We depend upon the generous support of individuals and institutions committed to a free and independent press, civil liberties, and social justice.

Type Media Center is a 501(c) (3) public foundation, donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent provided by law. If you have any questions, or would like other donation options, visit our donate page or contact us at (212) 822-0252.