The story of our national anthem, and the man who wrote it

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Most people know the name Francis Scott Key, and perhaps even that he wrote the country’s national anthem. Writer Marc Leepson‘s new biography What So Proudly We Hailed, reveals the history of the song, and more interestingly, the man.  It’s a perfect read this week as we commemorate the birthday of the United States.

Another timely reason for this book: It’s the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.  Leepson investigates how Key, a lawyer, unwittingly wrote the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner during a pivotal battle in the War of 1812.

An even more interesting accomplishment of Key’s was his fight against slavery, even while he was a slave-owner himself.

We talked to Leepson about his book and what compelled him to write the first biography of Key to be published in 75 years.