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4.0 out of 5 starsSurprisingly interesting!
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
Gives one a sense of the true obstacles these two remarkable men overcame. It’s difficult to imagine being physically connected to another for even a short time. Chang and Eng were successful businessmen, fathers and husbands. Well written and just plain interesting.
Thoroughly researched, fascinating topic, well-written and engaging. A slice of life like no other I have ever read. As hard to believe as any of this was, I believed every syllable. Even if you're not into "freaks", you will love it because of the well-detailed historical milieu, a world stage as removed from our own times, and yet as contemporary as (and more truthful than) reality TV. Not to mention the fact that at the end, I realized these men were anything but freaks.
This was a very detailed book and seems to be accurate according to other articles I have read. It was well written and informative. I enjoyed visiting Mount Airy, NC to see their gravesites, home and the museum.
I was very anxious to start this book...However, it is written with many letters from one person to another which was not what I thought it would be. It is interesting, but not interesting enough for me to have the "I can't wait to get back to it" type of attitude. Actually I haven't read the whole book and at some point will get back to it I guess, to find out the rest of the story but not in a hurry...
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2011
This fascinating book starts out very well describing the unusual and really unique life of these Siamese twins. I really enjoyed the first half of the book though struggled to finish it. The amount of detail about their life did became a bit tedious later on in the book. An very interesting story, somewhat let down by too much uninteresting factual detail.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe thorough and detailed 1978 biography of the Siamese Twins
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2015
I first owned this book so long ago in paperback (1980?) that I see now paper copies aren't even available here on Amazon anymore. When we were traveling in North Carolina recently, we had a chance to go into the Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy, and right next door is an exhibit on the Siamese Twins you can visit with the same ticket. Seeing the exhibit reminded me of this book, so I read it.
I have read that Irving Wallace, who wrote this book with his daughter, Amy, does a tremendous amount of research for his books, even his novels. And this biography of Chang and Eng certainly shows the amount of research they performed. It is a very detailed and meticulous account of their lives, from their birth in Siam (Turkey) to their tragic deaths at age 63 (tragic because one of them was more healthy but died when his brother did, and because they wanted to be separated later in life).
You will read about their early life, where they were fortunate to have a mother who didn't think of them as monsters or bad omens, as many parents would have. Then their discovery by their first manager, and on through their careers as a paid exhibit until they settled down in North Carolina as slave-owning, gentlemen farmers.
The authors make use of many sources: letters, diaries, newspaper articles, and on and on. Like I said, it is very detailed. The only time I thought there was too much information was on the occasions when they had no sources about a place they were visiting. For example, I think St. Petersburg, Russia was a place when there were no direct letters or journals to draw from, so the authors took a quote from some unrelated person's journal and said, this is what the Twins might have seen there. I would rather see everything through their eyes, if possible, and not at all otherwise. But this didn't happen often, so it didn't detract much at all from my interest in the story.
I know there is a newer book out on the Siamese Twins, and I plan to read it. It will be interesting to get a modern author's take on their lives, as well as with the advances in science and what we know about conjoined twins and their chances of survival upon being separated. But I am glad I read this older book first and I highly recommend it. The pictures in my copy were interesting, so if you use the audible version of the book, you might want to do a web search for pictures.
A very interesting and informative book.It tells the history of other twins that lived,but non were so spectaculor as these men.Michael Adashefski gave a fine performance in sideshow barker style.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.'
5.0 out of 5 starstruth really is stranger than fiction
Reviewed in Canada on April 22, 2013
try to imagine going through sixty-odd years of life attached (and i mean quite literally attached) to another human being who, in this case, happens to be your brother. well, personally, i would have found such imagining beyond my ability prior to reading "the two." even now, having been taken on a guided tour of the twins' life from their early days living in a houseboat on the mekong river in their native thailand, to their "discovery"" by an american sea captain-entrepeneur and their journey to america, to their marriage to two more-or-less hillbilly sisters in rural north carolina, to their touring the world and being gaped at and greeted by kings, queens, tsars and thousands of ordinary citizens; even now, as i say, i find the whole thing slightly incredible. but if you're ":into" gimpsing humanity in its myriad forms, including the unbelievable, then i promise you'll give this book 5 stars (and then some).