Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography,Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaitedportrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (18111874), twinsconjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fusedliver, who were discovered in Siam by a British merchant in1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almostimplausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Bostonin 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvyshowmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroadsof rural America to bring entertainment to the Jacksonianmobs. Their rise from subhuman, freak-show celebrities to richsouthern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting intwenty-one children; and their owning of slaves, is here not justanother sensational biography but a Hawthorne-like excavationof Americas historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal,for tyrannizing the othera tradition that, as Huangreveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself....
|Title||:||Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History|
|Number of Pages||:||416 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Inseparable » Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History|
Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History Reviews
Meticulously researched biography about the world’s most famous conjoined twins.
Chang and Eng were joined by a small tube of skin and shared a liver. Today they would have been separated soon after birth. In the early 1800s, they were purchased from their Chinese/Siamese mother for $500. They were shipped to America in steerage while their owners cruised first-class. The twins were shown around America and briefly England as both racially curiosities and freaks while living as basically propert ...more
Ever since my trip to the Mutter Museum of Medical Abnormalities in Philly back in the early 2000's, I have been interested in learning more about the lives of Chang and Eng Bunker - lives that are very well documented in this biography. It was engaging - and actually even read like narrative fiction at points.
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.
Objectively, this is at least 4 star books. However, in terms of my personal enjoyment of it, 3 stars.
This is truly a "the life and times of Chang and Eng" type of book, as opposed to a traditional biography. Although the book is centered on the brothers, much of the book focuses on the zeitgeist and context of the 19th century US that surrounded them. So an average chapter may have some information on say, the traveling route of the brothers, and the ...more
I had heard of the Siamese Twins but didn't know their story. Found it very interesting how they made a life for themselves, their wives and their children in the South prior to and during the civil way.
Book ok, but a little too much history, less about twins.
This is almost an academic exploration of the lives and history of the original Siamese Twins, written by a Guggenheim Fellow and a professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Not only does he give the biography of Chang and Eng Bunker, but he also explores the people and events surrounding them, some in great detail, including the Civil War, the use of slaves, and PT Barnum and the exploitation of "freaks". He also introduces us to their hometown, which is also the town ...more
Nice read about the " Siamese Twins ". They weren't the world's first siamese twins, but were the first to be exploited that's for sure. They were plucked from the Mekong River Delta area of Siam ( today's Thailand ) by a profiteer Scotsman who wanted to exploit their uniqueness or ' freakness ' depending on whom you speak with. At the age of 18 they first toured the U.K. and then the eastern U.S. with their shows. About 5 yrs. later on they rebelled from slavemaster, so to speak and became inde ...more
Fascinating, but somewhat padded. The author spends a lot of time presenting historical context, all of which is interesting, but not always central to the story. Actually his narrative referred so often to a similar accounting of the twins by Irving Wallace and his daughter, Amy, that I ended up more interested in that book than this one. Still, this book is entertaining, and I recommend it.