Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Finalist Kermit Roosevelt

Kermit Roosevelt is the author of Allegiance, the critically acclaimed historical novel that captures the drama, heroism and adversity of wartime Washington and the Supreme Court, immersing readers in the life of an idealistic lawyer who comes of age. Published by Regan Arts in 2015, Allegiance is currently a finalist for the M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Kermit is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he also teaches creative writing, and a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Souter.

His work as an author combines his lifelong interests in writing, history, and the law. As the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, he’s had a more-than-typical sense of identity with the government, prompting him to examine the triumphs and stumbles of the political system and the many leaders within it. When it came time to write his second novel, he chose an era that closely parallels our world today. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, as fear swept the nation, FDR’s measures to keep Americans safe would lead to civil rights violations, legal debates and moral dilemmas, as seen through the eyes of his hero protagonist. During Kermit’s eight years of research, he uncovered a real-life house of cards story: “I was creating a mystery plot, but at the same time I was solving a mystery,” he says.

"I went to work on the Supreme Court, reading the diaries and personal papers of the Justices and the papers filed by the people involved in the Japanese American internment cases, around which the book centers. I researched the world of wartime Washington and the important figures within the government and the military. But I also wanted a story that would work outside the legal context, so I built in another mystery, one that would explore the same themes: loyalty, suspicion, appearances, and the fundamental question of who we will sacrifice to protect the people we love." -- KR

Allegiance is his first work of fiction since the bestselling In the Shadow of the Law, a winner of the Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Literary Award, the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection, and a Christian Science Monitor best book of the year. Allegiance was a finalist for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (he won 45% of the public vote). His experiences clerking and practicing law informed the book.

A frequent op-ed contributor, his work has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Times, Time Magazine, and the Huffington Post, among many other outlets. He serves as a media expert, panelist, and public speaker on issues concerning the Supreme Court, constitutional law, civil rights, national security, American presidential history, conflict of laws, and his work as a novelist. He recently presented talks for organizations including TEDx, the National Constitution Center, and the Commonwealth Club, and has been interviewed by major media outlets in Europe and the United States.

Kermit’s nonfiction books include Conflict of Laws and The Myth of Judicial Activism: Making Sense of Supreme Court Decisions. He has also published in the Virginia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, among others, and the Supreme Court has cited his articles twice. Additionally, he hosts a Coursera class entitled, “Introduction to Key Constitutional Concepts and Supreme Court Cases.” Born in Washington, DC, Kermit attended Harvard University and Yale Law School.

Allegiance is published by Regan Arts, August 25, 2015.

Allegiance on
Allegiance on Amazon UK
Kermit Roosevelt website
Regan Arts, publisher’s website

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