August 20, 2006

Colby Cosh wants to know

Who is the tallest man to be famous in a profession where height is mostly irrelevant?

The most extreme profession would appear to be left-of-center economists with John Kenneth Galbraith at 6'9", John Maynard Keynes at 6'6", and Robert Reich at 4'10.5".

Among current pundits, Jim Pinkerton is 6'9" and Karl Zinsmeister is just a little shorter.

Perhaps the shortest famous man ever was the Rococo architect Cuvillies, designer of the Amalienburg, who got his start as a court dwarf.

I think the tallest world-historical figure was Czar Peter the Great at 6'7". Charles DeGaulle was approaching 6'6".

The tallest pretender to a throne is King Leka. Eric Margolis wrote in 1997:

"Last week, the majestic, 7 ft tall King Leka, Pretender to the crown of Albania, announced he was ready to return in 24 hours. I once spent enjoyable hours with Leka, who is also an arms dealer, planning an invasion of Albania. I urged Leka, as I also later did Serbia's Pretender, Crown Prince Alexander, to land on the coast at the head of royalist fighters, draw his sword, and march on the capital. This is what Balkan people understand."

Jerry Pournelle also told me that Leka, son of King Zog, was 7 feet tall.

Jerry should know because back in 1967, Jerry, Stefan Possony, and then-Crown Prince in Exile Leka (or Laika) organized an invasion of Albania by exiles to overthrow Communist dictator Enver Hoxha. King Hussein of Jordan agreed to provide air cover to wipe out the small Albanian air force to allow the invaders to cross the channel from Corfu, where they were training in the King Constantine of Greece's palace. Jerry spent a lot of time in Jordan training their pilots on how to pull off a sneak attack and wipe out the Albanian planes on the ground. Then, in June 1967, the Israelis pulled off their own sneak attack and wiped out the Jordanian air force on the ground, so the liberation of Albania had to be called off.

Decades later, Jerry met the President of Israel, Ezer Weizman, who had been in charge of the Israeli Air Force in 1967. Jerry explained how Weizman had wrecked his invasion of Albania. Weizman exclaimed to the effect that You were that foreigner who was training the Jordanians how to pull of a sneak attack? We thought you were a Russian training the Jordanians to attack us!

When is Jerry going to write his autobiography?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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