While I sympathise with the earlier reviewer's comments on the unpolished character of Reilly's written style and the often clumsy structure of his arguments this is a challenging book, worthy of the attention of anyone who brings an open mind to the study of Irish history. Those who simply want to have their prejudices confirmed will doubtless hate the book: how dare anyone - especially an Irishman from Drogheda - challenge Irish nationalism's most cherished myth!
The previous reviewer is right that Reilly does not satisfactorily explain away Cromwell's own reference to civilian casualties at Drogheda but the fact that civilians may have died in the heat of action (today we would call it collateral damage) does not make a massacre. Reilly does, in my opinion, convincingly demolish the reliability the testimony of Woods, the only eyewitness to describe deliberate atrocities committed against civilians during the battle, by showing that he had good reasons to wish to present Cromwell in a bad light. If Wood's evidence is discounted then there is no real evidence of a massacre of civilians: all other sources, including those that the earlier reviewer mentions, are second hand and, like Woods, have an interest in presenting Cromwell in a bad light. The consequences for Ireland of the Cromwellian conquest were quite bad enough without making the man into something he was not. I would hope that Reilly's book might help encourage a less self-serving approach to Irish history if it was more widely read.