Star Spangled Scandal by Chris DeRose

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Star Spangled Scandal:

A famous dad does not make you bulletproof.

Quick synopsis:

The murder of Philip Baron Key by Daniel Sickles in 1859 right in front of the White House.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Philip Barton Key was the son of Francis Scott Key, the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner. You may have heard of it.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

The trial was strange for a bunch of reasons, but my favorite was the lawyer who called himself to the stand when no one asked. He wasn’t even part of the trial.

My Take on Star Spangled Scandal:

This is why you should never cheat or help someone else cheat. The significant other may come out of the house and shoot you in cold blood right in the middle of Lafayette Square in D.C. in front of the White House. Sure, that sounds incredibly specific, but it is what happened.

Philip Barton Key was the son of the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner. Barton was a very successful lawyer in his own right. He was also quite the philanderer! This included the wife of Congressman Daniel Sickles. Danny-boy did not appreciate this fact and shot Phil dead.

No, I didn’t spoil the book for you. It’s right in the book jacket. There are plenty more twists and turns to the story and the build up to the event is really well done. Historic true crime can be difficult to write well and DeRose nails it here. The murder ends up being the least interesting part of the book.


Politics! Adultery! Murder! Old time lawyers doing things which would get you disbarred immediately nowadays! This book has it all. Read it. Buy it here!

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