If You Are Feeling Jaded About Human Adventuresomeness

By James Fallows

deane-drummond_2417938b.jpg I encourage you to read this obituary, from the UK Telegraph, of Maj-Gen Tony Deane-Drummond, who died yesterday at age 95. (National Portrait Gallery photo, via the Telegraph.)

Here is a minor sample that almost gets lost among the other things he did. In 1944, during Operation "Market Garden," Deane-Drummond was captured by the Germans. While in captivity with a lot of other Allied prisoners,

Deane-Drummond found a wall cupboard about four feet wide and 12 inches deep with a flush-fitting concealed door. He unscrewed the lock, turned it back to front, pasted over the outside keyhole and locked himself in. For the next 13 days and nights, he remained there.

The room beyond his door was used by the Germans as an interrogation centre. He had only a one-pound tin of lard, half a small loaf of bread and his water bottle to keep him going. A gap in a corner of the floor surrounded by pipes served as a makeshift urinal.

On the 14th night, the Germans left the room empty and held a party upstairs. Deane-Drummond slipped out of his cupboard, climbed out of a window, dropped into the shrubbery, dodged the guards outside and got away.

A Dutch family concealed him in a shed next to their house. When the Germans searched it, Deane-Drummond, hidden under a pile of sacks, remained undiscovered.

He was passed from one "safe house" to another. On one occasion Baroness Ella van Heemstra, the mother of Audrey Hepburn, arrived with a bottle of champagne.

Brits excel at this kind of obit, but they need the right material to work with. Maj-Gen Tony Deane-Drummond certainly provided it. Thanks to A.H.
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Also, surprisingly saddened to hear of the death of Dave Brubeck. David Graham has done a very nice appreciation. And -- it's a big day -- the famously tough and irascible Texas Congressman Jack Brooks, who was a much-feared figure in Washington when I first was learning about politics. As the NYT obit says:

An aide to [Lyndon] Johnson called Mr. Brooks "one of the few men L.B.J. was ever afraid of."... His defeat in the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994 reflected the long, steady rise of well-financed Republicans and anti-abortion organizers, as well as the defection of the Teamsters and some public employees unions.

The most proximate cause of his defeat was his antagonizing of the gun lobby by voting for a crime bill that included a ban on 19 firearms as assault weapons. Mr. Brooks had fought vainly to remove the ban, but ultimately voted for the bill approved by the Judiciary Committee, which he led.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/if-you-are-feeling-jaded-about-human-adventuresomeness/265965/