Remarkably, memoirs of soldiers who have served in Afghanistan often have a positive tone of voice. Merely 39 percent of the autobiographies has a plot that is characterised by desillusion, according to PhD research conducted by lieutenant colonel Esmeralda Kleinreesink. She studies the memoirs of soldiers who have been to Afghanistan, under the supervision of Prof. Henri Beunders. With the business edition of her dissertation 'On Military Memoirs', she has won the Caforio Award, during the annual European Research Group on Military and Society (EROGMAS) conference in Athens.
Kleinreesink, former researcher and lecturer at the Dutch Defense Academy, completed her PhD in 2014 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She defended her thesis in ceremonial uniform, with sabre. Her dissertation offers Defense a scientific profile of the writing soldiers: who are they, what are they writing about and why do they write? Currently, Kleinreesink is working as a senior advisor in the department Trends, Research & Statistics.
The Caforio Award
The award is handed out every two years during the conference of the European Research Group on Military and Society to the best international, academic book in the field of defense forces and civil-military relations. The jury described the book as "innovative, refreshing, new and groundbreaking" and said it is a must-read for "everybody who would like to know how soldiers truly experience their time serving abroad".
ERGOMAS is an international, academic organisation that was originally established in Europe, but is now also open to scientists from all of the world that work in the field of research on defense and society. The core principles of ERGOMAS are sociology and political science, however the organisation has become increasingly multidisciplinary.