The dust of Uruzgan

Publication Type:



Smith, Fred,


Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin,, Australia, p.xii, 399 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly colour), map, portraits (chiefly colour) ; (2016)



Call Number:

DS371.41252 A8 2016



21st century., Afghan War, 2001-, Australia, Australia., Music, Songs


"The first comprehensive on-the-ground account of Australia's mission in Afghanistan: making sense of that country and that war, one song at a time"--Cover.A personal story of Australia's war in Afghanistan as told by Fred Smith, star of 'Australian Story', Australian diplomat in Afghanistan and Australian Defence Forces favourite singer and composer of 'Dust of Uruzgan'.Fred Smith has been described as 'Australia's secret weapon' in international diplomacy. As a career diplomat, he served in Afghanistan during the time Australian Defence Forces were engaged in our 'longest war' against Taliban insurgents. It was Fred's second career as a musician that came to the fore in Uruzgan province, where his guitar served as a bridge not only to the Australian troops, but also to the people of this war-torn region. His song about the death of Australian soldier Ben Ranaudo, 'The Dust of Uruzgan,' captured the hearts of many serving in Afghanistan and was recoded by Lee Kernaghan on his bestselling Tribute to Anzac album. A second song, 'Sapper's Lullaby' has become an anthem for soldiers and their families...Now, with Australian forces out of Afghanistan, this book is the first comprehensive insider account of Australia's deep involvement there. Part memoir, part history, part anecdote, it is set against a subsistence agricultural province with a 5% literacy rate, in which tribal leaders colluded and conspired against one another in a society where trust had been smashed by 35 years of brutal warfare. The cast of characters includes charismatic tribal leaders, corrupt Provincial Governors, domineering warlords, bustling US colonels, and courteous interpreters, all of whom Fred worked with daily during his unique mission...Dust of Uruzgan recounts the struggles, setbacks and successes of a contingent of Australian soldiers, diplomats and aid workers trying to make a difference in the midst of a hellhole, where truth and clarity were often buried and where 40 young Australian soldiers perished in the dust of Uruzgan.