Legal Thriller Focuses on JA Internment Cases


“Allegiance,” a novel that plunges readers into the debate within the U.S. government surrounding the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II, has been published by Regan Arts.

(The book is not connected to the Broadway musical of the same name, which is also about the internment.)

When the news broke about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Caswell “Cash” Harrison was all set to drop out of law school and join the Army… until he flunked the physical. Instead, he’s given the opportunity to serve as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black.

Kermit Roosevelt

Kermit Roosevelt

He and another clerk stumble onto a potentially huge conspiracy aimed at guiding the court’s interests, and the cases dealing with the constitutionality of the prison camps created to detain Japanese Americans seem to play a key part.

Then Cash’s colleague dies under mysterious circumstances, and the young, idealistic lawyer is determined to get at the truth. His investigation will take him from the office of J. Edgar Hoover to an internment camp in California, where he directly confronts the consequences of America’s wartime policies.

Author Kermit Roosevelt combines the momentum of a legal thriller with a thoughtful examination of one of the worst civil rights violations in U.S. history in this long-awaited follow-up to “In the Shadow of the Law.”

Roosevelt, the great-great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt (fifth cousin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and uncle of Eleanor Roosevelt), is a professor of constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Born in Washington, D.C., he attended Harvard University and Yale Law School. Before joining the Penn faculty, he clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams and Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and practiced law in Chicago. His experiences clerking and practicing law informed “In the Shadow of the Law,” his first novel.

“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.” — Publishers Weekly

“An insider’s view of a world at war, a rogue’s gallery with real-life rogues, an exploration of the limits of American idealism, Kermit Roosevelt’s ‘Allegiance’ is also just a damn good yarn. It keeps you flipping pages even as it artfully and fruitfully complicates your understanding of the way we were. This is historical fiction as it should be.” — Louis Bayard, author of “The Pale Blue Eye”

“Deftly written and carefully observed, ‘Allegiance’ is an ingenious blend of history and imagination. Roosevelt’s novel vividly portrays a pivotal time in America’s past, luring the reader through a clever plot in which the very fate of the nation’s honor is at stake.” — Koethi Zan, author of “The Never List”

“The perfect melding of the times of a young man and the times of a young country, as both struggle to delineate the parameters of justice during war… No one else but the immensely talented Kermit Roosevelt could have written ‘Allegiance,’ and I cannot recommend it more highly.” — Lisa Scottoline, author of “Betrayed” and “Keep Quiet”

allegiance book“A riveting tale of murder and conspiracy within the highest echelons of government in W II Washington, D.C.” — Cordelia Frances Biddle, author of “The Conjurer” and “Deception’s Daughter”

“My favorite World War II historical novel was Herman Wouk’s ‘The Winds of War.’ Now I have two favorites. Kermit Roosevelt’s Allegiance is an instant classic.” — Nelson DeMille

“Roosevelt is an elegant writer and acute observer of life along the Beltway. Anyone who likes Scott Turow’s legal thrillers will like this one as well.” — Library Journal

“[Allegiance] excels as an introduction to American wartime history. It paints meticulous portraits of the Washington legal world, Philadelphia high society and the West Coast internment camps.… The profound questions that it raises — about the powers of the president in times of war, the tensions between liberty and security, and the role of the courts in resolving those tensions — remain as important in today’s threat-filled world as they were some three quarters of a century ago.” — David Lat, Wall Street Journal

“A marvelous and timely new legal thriller about a defining national moment … fast moving and intelligent … Highly recommended.” —Anniken Davenport, Bitter Empire

“Roosevelt paints a disturbing picture of Washington at war as a place driven by patriotism and principle — and by cynicism and greed… a splendid, troubling and authoritative novel, conceived with a vision that sees beyond the years and resonates in the present day.” — Jay Strafford, special correspondent at The Richmond Times-Dispatch



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