What is it about?

If you want to study soldiers, there is a really great source of information you can use as a scientist: military memoirs. However, you might wonder how reliable these military books are: can these writers in any way be expected to write the truth and how does censorship influence what is written about? This article investigates these questions.

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Why is it important?

Our research shows that not only researchers are concerned with these issues of truth and (self) censorship, but that the military writers themselves are also concerned about it. The majority of soldier-authors make some kind of truth claim in their books, in Anglo-Saxon countries (US, UK, Canada) five times more often than in the Netherlands and Germany. Censorship and truth claims do not seem to influence the kind of plots (negative or positive) written. Therefore we conclude that as long as military memoirs are seen as rich sources of socially constructed data, they are a very interesting and readily available source on the military.

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This page is a summary of: Truth and (self) censorship in military memoirs, Current Sociology, July 2015, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0011392115590613.
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