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Beloved Land

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  10 reviews
At the stroke of midnight on 20 May 2002, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste became the first new nation of the 21st century. From that moment, those who fought for independence have faced a challenge even bigger than shaking off Indonesian occupation: running a country of their own.

Beloved Land picks up the story where world attention left off. Blending narrative hist
Published (first published August 21st 2013)
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Beloved Land is a deftly painted portrait of contemporary Timor-Leste, as it is, rather than the way outsiders would like it to be. It is part travelogue, oral history, and political analysis, but most of all it tells some great stories from Indonesia and Australia’s small neighbour.

Since the 2002 restoration of independence, the international presence ebbed and flowed but under its own leadership and with its own oil and gas money, in the last decade this young nation has increasingly been able
Gordon Peake gets the balance right, as many Australian commentators are either Indonesia-centric and disparage the very existence of Timor-Leste as an independent state, or people who have been involved with the independence struggle for so long that they cannot bear criticism of the country's leaders post-independence.

The country is certainly dysfunctional, and many overpaid foreigners should take the blame for that as well as corrupt local leaders, but it is not a failed state. Peake's effor
Ann Turner
As a longtime resident of Timor-Leste, it is refreshing to read a book that portrays the country, warts and all, in a realistic but affectionate light. What also appealed to me was the fact that, unlike some books that endlessly re-tread the events of the past, Beloved Land offers a realistic assessment of where the country is going in the future, without sounding "worthy but dull". Whilst Peake sounds a necessary note of caution about prospective pitfalls in the country's development, the sense ...more
Diana Greenwald
A very honest and insightful collection of stories from the author's time in Timor-Leste. I read the book before beginning three months of dissertation fieldwork in Timor, and found the observations about the role of the international development community in post-independence Timor to be particularly sobering and important. His stories highlight that, while many international consultants and practitioners have good intentions, communication and cultural gaps between foreigners and Timorese citi ...more
Part travelogue, memoir and political analysis, Beloved Land chronicles the hurdles that face Timorese as they struggle to build the new millennium’s first new country. Shortly after its 2002 independence from Indonesia, Gordon Peake spent four years in Timor-Leste — a nation of one million who speak over 20 languages — just as the international community moved its attention elsewhere. The book is an important asset for understanding the challenges in modern statebuilding, and what the internati ...more
Great book about the crazy relationships and forgiveness of the Timorese people who have done terrible things to each other. Also highlights the massive failure of UN programs by people trying to push a western agenda without truly engaging the local population - like even just learning the language.
This should be required plane reading for anyone moving to or working on/in Timor-Leste. Also wouldn't hurt international development folks, no matter where they're working. Compulsively readable, but also well-researched and incredibly valuable to understanding more about the personal, political, and historical factors at play.
Rob Manwaring

This was a cracker, and for me, a great introduction to the politics, society and history of Timor Leste. Am slightly biassed as i know the author, but what was fascinating to me, was to learn more about Gordon's obvious attachment to the country. I loved reading some of the excursions made and some of the key people who have shaped the country. Perhaps a little sadly, the 'aid' community comes in for a bit of a hammering, and the passion for strategic plans is both hilarious and tragic. Perhaps
Hamish Nixon
Gordon Peake's extremely enjoyable distillation of essential history, travelogue, anecdote, and empathetic but clear-eyed reading of Timorese politics and its encounter with the world of nation-builders, do-gooders, bandwagoners, and generally curious characters.

A great introduction to the post-independence landscape of East Timor, as well as a meditation on the odd business of international post-conflict state-building. Includes a useful guide to further reading.
Good overview on Timor Leste since independence.
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Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles, and Secrets from Timor-Leste Beloved Land: Stories Managing Insecurity - Peake: Field Experiences of Security Sector Reform

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