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Cromwell was Framed: Ireland 1649 Kindle Edition
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Indeed one of the best features of this book is that the author includes images of the key pages (and even whole documents) of all the original source material that he cites to defend his arguments. The reproduction quality of these images is a little ropey at times, and they could have been better indexed and labelled, but it is nonetheless wonderful to have these to read alongside his arguments.
He makes several references to the book “God's Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland” by Dr Micheál Ó Siochrú, which takes a very different tack on Cromwell and Drogheda. I would encourage everyone interested in the Oliver Cromwell’s campaign in Ireland, and in particular the question of what really happened at Drogheda, to read both “God's Executioner” and “Cromwell was Framed”.
For my part on reading both books I think that the truth of what happened at Drogheda lies somewhere between the positions adopted by each text, though I incline a little more towards Reilly’s viewpoint. What happened at Drogheda was: definitely unacceptable by our standards today, and it was straining at the very limits of could be considered acceptable in 17th century warfare, but it falls short of the wholesale massacre of unarmed civilians that is usually attributed to Cromwell.
I think Reilly presents a good case that clears Cromwell of accusations of genocidal behaviour, or what we would now call war crimes. He also gives a convincing argument that Cromwell's hatred and anger was directed the English defenders of Drogheda who were rekindling civil war, rather than being directed towards the Irish. One senses though that the author wants to go even further than that in redeeming Cromwell’s reputation in Irish campaign. However hatred is still hatred and it clearly shunted mercy aside in Cromwell and the New Model Army’s dealing with Drogheda’s defenders.
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A fresh way of looking at history that should really shake up the historians.Read more
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