This book is based on extensive research and regular visits to East Timor since 1995. It considers the trials that the people of East Timor have undergone in their long struggle for independence, and issues that have arisen out of independence. This account places East Timor within the context of other post-colonial states, noting the problems that most of them have faced in coming to grips with their new-found freedoms, and how they have managed, or mismanaged, such freedoms. It also traces the themes and issues within the independence movement, noting how these have contributed to post-independence outcomes, in particular the political tensions that almost saw East Timor collapse as a viable state in 2006. The books concludes with an assessment of the 2007 elections which, despite some post-election violence, saw the consolidation of democratic processes in East Timor, and which marked it as having a brighter future in this one critical respect.