Dropkick Murphy: A Legendary Life - Hamilcar Publications

Dropkick Murphy: A Legendary Life

Emily Sweeney, with a foreword by Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys


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“Sweeney’s forensic research shines through an entertaining book that is a thoroughly delicious slice of Irish-Americana.”

Irish Times 

“The original Dropkick Murphy has long deserved a biography worthy of his legendary life and name, and now he has one—thanks to Emily Sweeney and her wry fascination with all things Old Boston.”

—Howie Carr, New York Times bestselling author of The Brothers Bulger and Hitman

Newspapers called him the “the man with the cast-iron toes,” “the best drop-kicker in wrestling,” and “one of the mat game’s biggest box office attractions.” But Dr. John “Dropkick” Murphy’s legacy extends far beyond the wrestling ring. Decades before the Betty Ford Center became a household name — and long before the band the Dropkick Murphys named themselves in his honor — the phrase going to Dropkick’s meant a person struggling with addiction needed help and would soon get some.

This book chronicles for the first time the unbelievable life of Dr. “Dropkick” Murphy, a professional wrestler who put himself through medical school during the Great Depression and then opened Bellows Farm, a one-of-a-kind institution that served as both a facility where elite athletes could train as well as a secluded place where down-on-their-luck alcoholics could go to sober up discreetly.

The celebrities who frequented Dropkick Murphy’s farm were many, and numerous professional athletes would go there to focus on their training and work out in his state-of-the-art gymnasium. As a result, Bellows Farm featured an unrivaled and revolving cast of colorful characters who brought it to life. Drawing on years of research and interviews, author Emily Sweeney goes behind the scenes to reveal the untold story of Murphy’s life, his farm, and the legendary events that unfolded there.







  • Publication Date: May 23, 2023
  • Author: Emily Sweeney
  • Edition: 1st
  • Availability: World
  • ISBN: 9781949590647
  • Page Count: 224
  • Format: Paperback
  • Dimensions: 6″ X 9″
  • List Price: $18.99 | £14.99 GBP
  • Distribution: Two Rivers


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Emily Sweeney is a staff reporter at The Boston Globe and author of the books Boston Organized Crime and Gangland Boston. A proud native of Dorchester, she also appears in Bloody Boston, a two-part documentary special on the Reelz channel; Stranger Than Fiction: The True Story of Whitey Bulger, Southie, and The Departed, a bonus feature on the DVD of the Oscar-winning movie The Departed; and the forthcoming Netflix series How To Become A Mob Boss.

Ken Casey is the bass guitarist, primary songwriter, and one of the lead singers of the Boston Celtic punk group the Dropkick Murphys.



“This is not only a stupendous biography of a fascinating, multilayered American hero. It is also a vividly detailed and riveting account of life in mid-twentieth-century America, the world where our parents or grandparents rubbed shoulders with Dropkick.”

―Walter V. Robinson, Editor-at-Large at the Boston Globe

“Here is a tale that seizes your attention, and grapples with your soul, from the slam of the ring to the terror of rehab. To steal a phrase from the very gifted Emily Sweeney, it is one ‘colossal bully’ of a book!”

―John A.Farrell, author of Ted Kennedy: A Life and Pulitzer Prize finalist

“Pioneer, iconoclast, legend. Dropkick Murphy broke societal barriers with the same intensity as he broke choke holds. Author Emily Sweeney examines one of history’s most underrated and fascinating characters whose compassionate mission is more relevant today than it ever was before. Sweeney’s book is life-affirming and well told!”

―Casey Sherman, New York Times Bestselling author of The Finest Hours and Helltown

“Emily Sweeney is Boston through and through and has emerged as a storytelling force in a city with no shortage of legendary raconteurs. In Dropkick Murphy she has delivered a stouthearted tale of the nexus of sport and recovery, as well as the untold story of one of the godfathers of the working-class fighting spirit that still resonates in Boston today.”

Dave Wedge New York Times bestselling author of Hunting Whitey