Why Are Military Memoirs Written?
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In this chapter, we discuss what authors say, and what the texts of memoirs indicate, about the question of motivation to write. We start by looking at the idea of the memoir as a historical text, and we explore how authors variously resist and embrace the idea that they are writing a historical account. We explore motivations which spring from a desire to tell a story, and look at how significant particular sets of circumstances might be in creating the right conditions for that author to sit down and start writing. We examine what authors say about the financial motivations for writing, which are sometimes assumed by commentators to be more significant than authors themselves suggest. We then look at the therapeutic effects of writing and post-publication assessments of the catharsis which writing a personal memoir may or may not produce. We conclude by discussing authors’ assertions about the veracity and truth of their work.