Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History

By Yunte Huang
Read by P. J. Ochlan

14.43 Hours 07/03/2018 unabridged
Format: CD (In Stock)
  • ISBN: 9781684410606

  • ISBN: 9781684410606

Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography, Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were "discovered" in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads of rural America to bring "entertainment" to the Jacksonian mobs. Their rise from subhuman, freak-show celebrities to rich southern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting in twenty-one children; and their owning of slaves, is here not just another sensational biography but a Hawthorne-like excavation of America's historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannizing the "other"—a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself.

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Summary

Summary

A Newsweek Pick of Best Nonfiction for Summer Reading

Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography, Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were "discovered" in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads of rural America to bring "entertainment" to the Jacksonian mobs. Their rise from subhuman, freak-show celebrities to rich southern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting in twenty-one children; and their owning of slaves, is here not just another sensational biography but a Hawthorne-like excavation of America's historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannizing the "other"—a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Huang’s spellbinding account tells [Chang and Eng’s] story with a complexity and sensitivity with which it has never been told before.” Jill Lepore, author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman
“An astonishing story, by turns ghastly, hilarious, unnerving, and moving. Huang is a dazzling writer.” Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Yunte Huang

Yunte Huang is a Guggenheim Fellow and a professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Transpacific Imaginations and Charlie Chan, which won the 2011 Edgar Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. Having come of age in China as a student in the time of Tiananmen, Huang now lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, Library CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 14.43
Audience: Adult
Language: English