To Hell or Barbados describes the fate of the thousands of Irish sold into slavery in the West Indies and Virginia after Cromwell's invasion in the Seventeenth Century.
The book illustrates the links between Cromwell's policies in England, the invasion of Ireland and the 'Western design' in the Caribbean. Irish rebels and English dissidents were sold into slavery along with millions of Africans.
It conveys a strong impression of an era whose legacy is still with us today. That is partly down to the power of O'Callaghan's description of the colonial West Indies. It is a vivid, not to say lurid account, of a society of exploitation and cruel debauchery maintained by systematic violence.
This is a powerful book, well worth reading for anyone interested in Caribbean, American, Irish or English history