Star Spangled Scandal: Sex, Murder and the Trial that Changed America by Chris DeRose: 5*****

This is the 2nd book that I have read by the author and once again he has done a great job of research and writing. This book deals with the murder of Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key) by US Congressman Daniel Sickles, due to Key’s adulterous relationship with Sickles wife Teresa. I had remembered Sickles due to his heroic efforts at the Battle of Gettysburg, but was unaware of this part of his life. Here the author delves into the past live of all three involved in the incident, and then gives us a really good overview of the events leading up to the shooting. Probably the most open secret in Washington was the affair between Key and Teresa, with the only person who was ignorant of the situation was Daniel Sickles, and once he found out there was no doubt as to his actions.

One of the best parts of the book is Chapter 15 “Special by Magnetic Telegraph” which introduces us to the telegraph system and how that changed the way news was transmitted as well as the new “speed” getting out the story. So many similarities to today’s internet, texting and Social Media it is truly a great part of this story.

We also have the first Dream Team of defense attorneys, and that harkens back to the OJ trial, as does the media coverage the case receives. Coverage was so extensive that it was next to impossible to even seat a jury of 12 disinterested men.

The book is filled with trial testimony, opening and closing statements and arguments and the use of temporary insanity as a legal defense for the first time in a case such as this.

I give this book a hearty 5***** rating and recommend this to one and all. Fast paced writing, short and highly readable chapters and as a senior citizen a great big thanks for having the book printed in extremely eye-friendly font style!!!

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