As with almost every history of Cromwell in Ireland he informs everyone he began by massacring 4000 Irish at Drogheda. This the top figure some give it as 2000 massacred but most go for about 3000. Nobody has ever asked why have no mass graves been found in the last 350 years? You could not leave 2000 - 4000 bodies lying around they had to be thrown in common pits but in 350 years as the town expanded the remains of not more than 20 bodies have been found. Why do the town records which still exist show the same people living and working in Drogheda after the "massacre" as before? Local historian Tom Reilly's book "Cromwell an Honourable Enemy" is the first to ask these questions - questions no professional historians ever thought of, they just read the same English royalist propaganda for 350 years. They have not answered him but they have spent a lot of time telling him he is a bad historian. Detail - most of the people in Drogheda then were English speaking royalists and the town was held for the King by an English commander. The same English royalist paper used as a primary source on the massacre also reported Cromwell's penis had been shot of in the attack and speculates how Mrs Cromwell will react to this misfortune. You can understand why one Cambridge historian spent a lot of time rubbishing Reilly without answering his questions on graves and the town records - he has made them look fools. Reilly's book "Cromwell an Honourable Enemy" is may not be a work of great scholarship but it asks original and intelligent questions.
This is a fairly comprehensive coverage of an imporant but poorly covered period in Irish history. It covers the subject with a realativly neutral view point.However its main recommendation is for the great art work, not of the main artist, but the artwork of Sean O Broigan.Sean shows Irish troops in the tight tousers that were common to the Irish at the time.Also his illustrations of Irish Confederate flags are very nice.The only real problem is Osprey spliting the nice maps across two pages as it is nearly impossiable to see the centre detail (this is common with Osprey). For wargamers doing the campign in Ireland, this is a must buy.
This book is a must for any interested none expert like me on the civil war era concerning Ireland,well written,full of detail, all conflict is terrible and this was no exeption.The artwork is very good throughout, the only negative the battle diagrams are unusable.I feel after reading this i have a fair grasp of the whole episode including what Cromwell did and did not do and that is why we buy these books,well done Mr Mcnally.Reccomended.