God’s Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland, by Micheál Ó Siochrú, is a compelling insight into one of the most controversial figures in Anglo-Irish history.
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Cromwell spent only nine months of his eventful life in Ireland, yet he stands accused there of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. In a century of unrelenting, bloody warfare and religious persecution throughout Europe, Cromwell was, in many ways, a product of his times. As commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland, however, the responsibilities for the excesses of the military must be laid firmly at his door, while the harsh nature of the post-war settlement also bears his personal imprint. A warrior of Christ, somewhat like the crusaders of medieval Europe, he acted as God’s executioner, convinced throughout the horrors of the legitimacy of his cause, and striving to build a better world for the chosen few.
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