'Besides being a political diagnosis, it’s an absorbing piece of travel writing, vivid and full of well-turned character sketches ... The mixture of forthrightness and warmth, and knowledge, makes this book not simply informative but in a quiet way exemplary.'
- Owen Richardson, The Saturday Age
'The reader gets a sense of a complex nation where history is a layer cake, with the past always present.'
- Jenny Tabakoff, The Courier Mail
Gordon Peake has written a brilliant, serendipitous book about Timor-Leste that is the best work on the subject in recent times. His colourful insider tales from a parade of characters met in smoke-filled Dili cafes, mountain villages, and even factories in distant Northern Ireland tap into the complexity and chaos of life in the newly independent state. His critical approach and laconic wit spare no personalities, from UN bureaucrats to Timorese high-flyers, who would do well to read and heed this work.'
- Jill JolliIffe
'Beloved Land is a clear-eyed and critical love letter to Timor-Leste. It’s also a survival manual for bewildered malae (foreigners) in this complex and resilient nation.'
- Sian Prior
Time will tell whether Timor-Leste's good fortune is merely a bubble inflated by resources revenues, or the beginning of its march towards prosperity. Even though the odds are long, Beloved Land will leave you quietly willing on the underdog.
- Gillian Terzis, The Australian
Peake has an ear for a phrase, describing a coffee shop where the Timorese elite hang out – not so many years since they were prowling in armed groups around city streets – as ‘shrouded in cigarette smoke, intrigues and dodgy deals’. His fondness for this fledgling nation, both brand new and shackled by history, is palpable throughout.
- Mick Herron, Geographical