The Measure of a Man

My Father, the Marine Corps, and Saipan
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Published:April 15, 2013

Maj. Roger G. B. Broome, USMCR, died from wounds received on Saipan before his daughter had a chance to know him. Now a well-known naval historian and author of award-winning books, that daughter, Kathleen Broome Williams, has turned the research skills she honed studying naval technology to find her lost father. For this biography, she makes full use of an extensive collection of her father’s colorful and articulate letters along with the testimony of surviving Leathernecks who served with Major Broome, backed up by official records.

The book reconstructs her father’s life as a University of Virginia Law School graduate who obtained a commission in the Marine Corps despite his colorblindness and eventually won the combat command he lobbied for. In April 1944 Broome took command of the Regimental Weapons Company, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division. But his pursuit of glory came to an abrupt end just twenty-four days into the Saipan invasion when he sustained the wounds that condemned him to a lingering death. The author not only found a hero who was awarded the Navy Cross for his courageous actions, but also uncovered a profoundly human individual with strengths as well as obvious faults. In unfolding Broome’s story, she takes significant world events from seventy years ago and places them in an intimate context, to show how they affected Americans on and off the battlefield. Her efforts provide an inside look at the U.S. Marine Corps during the pivotal years of World War II, including recruit training, amphibious assaults, high casualties, and, not least, the personal feuds and rivalries that shaped it.

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Product Details
  • Subject: World War II
  • Paperback : 224 pages
  • Illustrations: 16 b/w photos; 4 maps
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 15, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1591149762
  • ISBN-13: 9781591149767
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 0 lb
  • “Professor Williams’ nuanced reconstruction of her father’s service in the Marine Corps stands as a testament to a daughter’s decade-long quest to understand a man who died while she was an infant. Based on the voluminous correspondence between her parents, thorough archival research, interviews with his comrades in arms, and visits to the sites of his life, this evocative study provides unique insights into the Marine Corps’ officer personnel system, the functioning of a battalion, and unit-level operations on Saipan, where Broome received his fatal wounds.” —James C. Bradford, Class of 1957 Distinguished Professor of Naval Heritage at the U.S. Naval Academy
  • “An incredibly moving story of one man’s patriotism and desire to fight and die for his country. Williams is able to bring the story of her father’s service in World War II alive with the combination of the heartfelt grief of a daughter, tempered with the clear eye of a professional historian. A magnificent achievement.” —Richard L. DiNardo, USMC Command and Staff College, Quantico
  • “In this eloquent, compelling book, at once history and memorial, Kathleen Broome Williams pays the tributes of a clear-eyed scholar and a loving daughter to an American, a Marine, and above all to the father she never knew.” —Dennis Showalter, professor of history at Colorado College, author of Hitler’s Panzers
  • “Kathleen Broome Williams’ The Measure of a Man is family history, personal memoir, and exposition on the ethos of the World War II Marine Corps, all by an accomplished historian searching to discover the essence of the father she never met. The result is a loving, touching, and sometimes critical portrait of Major R. G. B. Broome, USMCR (Navy Cross), who in January 1945 died of wounds sustained on Saipan in July 1944, and the impact of his death on those he left behind.” —Timothy K. Nenninger, former president of the Society for Military History

Kathleen Broome Williams, a graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University, holds a Ph.D. from City University of New York. She is the author of Grace Hopper: Admiral of the Cyber Sea, a North American Society for Oceanic History award winner, Secret Weapon: U.S. High-Frequency Direction Finding in the Battle of the Atlantic, and Improbable Warriors: Women Scientists and the U.S. Navy in World War II, which won a History of Science Society book award. Currently, she is a professor of history at Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, California, and lives in Oakland, CA.

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