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UNSW Press UNSW Press

Born of Fire and Ash

Australian operations in response to the East Timor crisis 1999–2000

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The first volume in the landmark Official History of Australian Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, Born of Fire and Ash is an honest, challenging and compelling account of the 1999–2000 East Timor crisis and Australia’s response to it.

Australia’s involvement in East Timor from 1999–2000 was this nation’s largest mission conducted under United Nations auspices, the single largest deployment of ADF personnel since the Second World War and an instrumental part of Timor-Leste gaining its independence. Critically, it was also one not nestled within a larger or lead nation’s logistics and administrative support, and also the first time Australia had led such a large multi-national force. In short, International Force East Timor was the most complex politico-strategic challenge Australia had faced, at least since the 1940s.

Written from classified government sources and buttressed by hundreds of interviews with veterans and stakeholders, this first volume in the landmark Official History of Australian Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor — Born of Fire and Ash — is an honest, challenging and compelling account of the 1999–2000 East Timor crisis and Australia’s response to it. It tackles the good alongside the bad, successes and failures, to chart a complex ‘truth’ unknown to most Australians, then and now.

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