Mark Clague Knows Everything About “The Star-Spangled Banner”

From a New York Times review by Peter Sagal of the book by Mark Clague titled “O SAY CAN YOU HEAR?”:

Mark Clague knows everything about “The Star-Spangled Banner,” including how you feel about it.

He knows of every tribute, genuine and forced, and he’s read all the criticisms of the national anthem’s jingoism, its triumphant militarism and its original lyrics’ inclusion of the word “slave,” but not the word “America.” In fact, his knowledge of the song’s history and its uses, benign and otherwise, is so comprehensive that I was surprised he didn’t quote my personal favorite, delivered by Belize in “Angels in America,” when he claims the slaveholder who wrote the national anthem “knew what he was doing. He set the word ‘free’ to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate.”