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
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
Very interesting. I’ve always been fascinated by Chang and Eng since I was very young. My great-Grandpop had an old Circus book that had photos and etchings of them.
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
Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins, are a quite remarkable American story of a couple of "freaks" who overcame their handicap to live relatively long and productive (in all ways; they had 21 kids between them) lives. A clue to author Yunte Huang's approach can be found in the subtitle of the book: "The original Siamese twins and their rendezvous with American history". Huang includes a lot of American history in this overly detailed book. A great deal of the book isn't about the twins at ...more
Inseparable is a biography about the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng Bunker. The story reminds me of the Elephant Man but Huang has lovingly researched his subject matter with an incredible thorough hand.
The Bunker twins lived from 1811 to 1874. The story follows from their birth to their eventual death and their tour throughout America during this time. Lovingly told through emotional highs and lows, this is an incredible story that garners one to delve into their lives. Heartbreak, horr ...more
Fascinating read, covering biography, US and Asian history (esp. pre-Civil War era), a thoughtful analysis of the influence of race and immigration, PT Barnum, and even a connection to the Andy Griffith show. Highly recommend; I would like to read more by this author (esp. his award-winning book "Charlie Chan")
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways.
I had never read an in-depth story about Chang and Eng Bunker, the original "Siamese Twins" and the impetus for the commonly used phrase. I had heard of them, of course, and seen things on The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia about their shared liver, but never actually read about them as people. This is a well-researched, in-depth, but not overwhelming look at their lives which includes insightful commentary about the world and the natio ...more
I was vaguely aware of the twins because I read The Chinese in America: A Narrative History beforehand. While Chang's narrative offered a general overview of their lives in service to a grim irony of racial prejudices towards Chinese immigrants in American history, Huang's take is vibrant and clever—quite like the twins' famous showmanship. I have found myself smirking to the humor written in the face of the era's insensitivity or adversity. It's like Mel Brooks's M.O.: get your revenge throug ...more