New book on the real Dropkick Murphy drops
An unsung local hero with a famous nickname is finally getting his due in a new biography.
What's happening: Dropkick Murphy – A Legendary Life, by Emily Sweeney, tracks Dr. John "Dropkick" Murphy's astonishing path from the wrestling ring to the sanatorium he ran until the 1970s through archival records and interviews with family, former employees and patients.
Catch up quick: Murphy was an osteopath by training, but earned his nickname putting himself through a Massachusetts medical school as a professional wrestler in the 1930s and '40s.
- Long before alcohol addiction was treated as a disease instead of a moral failure, he founded Bellows Farm in Acton, a rural sanatorium where men could sober up.
- The facility doubled as a gym and training center for elite athletes of the day.
What they're saying: "Basically, guys would go out there and dry out, so to speak, and do it in a medically supervised environment," Sweeney tells Axios.
Fun fact: The term "going to Dropkick Murphy's" was shorthand for substance abuse treatment in Massachusetts for decades before musician Ken Casey borrowed the name for his Celtic punk band in the 1990s.
- Casey wrote the foreword for Sweeney's book, which is available now.
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