Millions of Americans have died from alcoholism, but millions have also been saved by a recovery movement that began in the early 19th century. Some of the most important leaders of this great humanitarian campaign have been Irish Americans. Many were alcoholics themselves. Historian Christopher Finan, author of Drunks: An American History, will describe the achievements of Jerry McAuley, founder of the famous Water Street Mission; Francis Murphy and Dr. Henry Reynolds, leaders of grassroots campaigns that helped tens of thousands recover; Dr. Leslie Keeley, the inventor of a “gold cure” for alcoholism, and Sister Ignatia, a pioneer in the medical treatment of alcoholism.
Christopher M. Finan is director of American Booksellers for Free Expression, part of the American Booksellers Association. He has been involved in the fight for free speech since 1982. He is chair of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of businesses. A former reporter, Mr. Finan studied American history at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. His is the author of From the Palmer Raids to the PATRIOT Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in American (Beacon Press) and Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior (Hill and Wang).