Why it matters
This book provides a new, and profound, meaning of what it means to be human.
By Yunte Huang, 416 pp. Liverite
Yunte Huang brings to life, with a complexity and sensitivity, the story of America’s most famous nineteenth-century Siamese twins. Huang traces the legacy of the “original Siamese twins,” Chang and Eng Bunker (1811–1874), conjoined twins.
At the age of 17 they were taken to Boston by the Scotsman trader Robert Hunter who “discovered” them in Siam, Thailand. They toured for years in an exhibition of “freaks of nature”. Liberating themselves from a museum contract, they developed an entrepreneurial career, married two white women, fathered 21 children. Huang uncovers ironies, paradoxes and examples of how Chang and Eng subverted what Leslie Fiedler called “the tyranny of the normal”. (Credit: Liveright)