By Nina Kendall
in the United States is a time of patriotic splendor. Fireworks, flag displays, and celebrations of
important Americans entice people to bask in communal festivities. I treasure
memories of the National Fiddle Contest, Flag Day parades, and concerts ending
with fireworks. Summer fun can be
extended with a great history book. This
year you can combine your summer celebration with a new book about early America.
in the early 19th century was a country of contradictions. Francis Scott Key led a life that epitomizes
those contradictions. Marc Leepson has written a new biography about Key. In What So Proudly We Hailed, Leepson
shares the life of Francis Scott Key who is best known for writing the “The
Star Spangled Banner.” Mr. Key is an American icon whose life is
largely unknown. An active citizen, Key was involved in local, regional, and
national issues. A lawyer by trade, Key also pursued his interest in religion, public
education, and colonization.
makes his research clear in his revelation of the life of Francis Scott
Key. While recounting the events surrounding
the writing of the account of the events surrounding the writing of “The Star
Spangled Banner”, we learn that Key did not write of the events directly.
Leepson’s writing is based on a letter written by Roger B. Taney and the John
Skinner’s memories. Both works were written decades after the War of 1812. Key
himself only made one public reference to the poem despite delivering numerous
public speeches on a variety of topics.
struggles with the issues of the time. He has concerns about how the future of
the country will be affected by the resolution of questions surrounding
slavery. At times Key defends slaves who sue for their freedom. Yet, he also works for people who seek the
return of slaves. He is troubled by the struggle to create the Missouri
Compromise and a huge supporter of the American Colonization Society. Marc Leepson
presents these actions to the reader without judgment so that they can draw their
What So Proudly We
Hailed, Francis Scott Key, A Life paints a clear picture of the life of a
man who represents the challenges of early America. This is a good book for
tying all the pieces of early 19th century America together. Key was
a public figure in a period of growth and debate in American history. Key, the son of a wealthy planter, has well
connected relatives and influential friends. Yet he still strives to be
faithful to his religion, improve his community, and influence the future of
Connect your summer fun with the enjoyment of early
American history. Pick up a book and make a connection with the past.