Francis Scott Key was born during the Revolutionary War on his familys Maryland estate and died suddenly and unexpectedly in Baltimore at age sixty-three. History remembers him best as the composer of The Star-Spangled Banner and least of all as a noted poet and eminent lawyer. Time and again his career propelled him into the limelight, which explains how Key happened to find himself aboard a truce ship during the massive British bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. As he watched the assault all night long with the aid of a spyglass, the poet-lawyer was inspired to compose the ode that became the anthem of a nation. During his forty-plus years as a lawyer, Francis Scott Key argued well over one hundred appeals before the Supreme Court in Washington. As a devout evangelical Episcopalian and lay leader, he found himself steeped in the divisive issues sundering his church. His restless intellect and spirit sought an outlet in a mind-boggling array of philanthropic projects, which included the founding of the free African republic of Liberia. As a result of new and overlooked sources and materials, new facts about Francis Scott Key have emerged, and some age-old myths have been dispelled. What still remains true and enduring about the man are his genius, piety, and service to his country and fellow man.