Kermit Roosevelt III is a writer, lawyer, and a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the great-great-grandson ofPresident Theodore Roosevelt and the fifth cousin four times removed of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He graduated from St. Albans School (where he was a Presidential Scholar), Harvard University, and Yale Law School. He was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter.
Roosevelt is also an award-winning novelist. His debut novel In the Shadow of the Law (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005) won the Philadelphia Athenaeum Annual Literary Award. A national campus bestseller, the novel was the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection and a Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year. In a 2005 New York Times review of Roosevelt’s novel In the Shadow of the Law, Alan Dershowitz wrote, “I recommend this book with real enthusiasm. Why? Precisely because it doesn't glamorize its subject. Roosevelt's gritty portrayal of the transformation of bright-eyed and colorful young associates into dim-eyed and gray middle-aged partners (no one seems to make it to his or her golden years) rings true of all too many corporate law factories.” In 2006, Paramount filmed a pilot episode (written by Carol Mendelsohn) for a TV series based on the novel, starring Joshua Jackson, Frank Langella, Kevin Pollak, Monet Mazur, and Alan Tudyk.
His second novel, Allegiance, was a Harper Lee Prize finalist. It received favorable reviews in The Wall Street Journal (“well worth reading”) and a star review in Publishers Weekly, which in part read:
This sophisticated, multi-textured novel works both as a thriller to rival the best of Stephen Carter and as an insightful look at one of America's darkest historical moments... The plot twists are both genuinely surprising and logical, and Roosevelt is subtle in illustrating how the liberty vs. security tensions of the 1940s foreshadow those of the post-9/11 era.
Based on actual events, the story examines U,S. national security policies during World War II, focusing on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese Americans. Roosevelt studied court documents and personal diaries of key political figures to accurately portray the circumstances and motivations behind the decisions that led to the internment. Allegiance recaptures the legal debates within the US government, including the Supreme Court cases, and explores the moral issues surrounding U.S. national security policies.