Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins

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Overview

"A leading expert on twins delves into the stories behind her research to reveal the joys and real-life traumas of twelve sets of twins, triplets, and quadruplets." "Indivisible by Two introduces us to an assortment of characters, from the "Fireman Twins" - brothers who, though reared separately, are similar in personality and behavioral traits - to the twin sisters who overcame one twin's infertility by having the other serve as her surrogate mother. We meet one of the few identical brother-sister pairs in the world after one of two sisters was surgically transformed into a man, and identical triplet brothers, only one of whom is gay while the others are straight. We see uniquely blended families - identical twin brothers marrying identical twin sisters, and Chinese twins adopted by different Canadian families yet raised as sisters." "Being a twin can also render the experience of historical tragedy uniquely painful. We meet Stepha and Annetta, survivors of Joseph Mengele's heinous experiments in Auschwitz, and untangle the troubled lifelong tie between Jack and Oskar, born in the 1930s to a Jewish father and a German Gentile mother, one raised as a Jew in Trinidad and the other as a Catholic and a member of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany." Nancy Segal unravels these stories and others with an eye for the challenges that life as a twin (or triplet or quadruplet) can pose to parents, friends, and spouses, as well as the twins themselves. These stories remind us how incompletely any theory explains real life - twin or not.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Segal, has devoted her professional career as a psychologist to the study of identical and fraternal twins. This anecdotal study, following up on Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior, feeds our fascination with "the tiny twists and great puzzles behind individuals' similarities and differences." By delving deeply into the specific lives of 10 sets of twins, one set of triplets and a set of quadruplets, Segal operates less as a scientist and more as a perceptive listener. She tells about twins raised apart, like Gerry and Mark, who both became firefighters; when they met at age 31, says Gerry, "we were so alike, there was no need to get acquainted." Not so for Oskar, one of half-Jewish identical twins, a Catholic Hitler Youth member in Nazi Germany while his twin, Jack, spent his childhood as a Jew in Trinidad. The author consistently conveys empathy for the uncommon problems of her subjects, such as Agnes and Audrey, identical sisters whose lives changed dramatically when Audrey underwent a sex change operation. Segal opines that studying twins-"naturally conceived clones"-will help society grapple with the advantages and disadvantages of artificial human cloning, which she does not view unfavorably. 30 b&w photos. Agent, Angela Rinaldi. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to adult.

Segal, an expert on twins, invites readers into the lives of twins, triplets and quadruplets. Many of the reared-apart twins had been part of the Minnesota Study that produced some eye-opening data proving that genes matter more than environment. We meet Mark and Gerry, who did not meet until they were 31 years old. They had lived parallel lives “as children, teenagers, and ultimately firefighters” in different New Jersey towns, even drinking the same brand of beer. Fraternal twins George and Marcus were raised in Canada. Later George met Brent and was amazed at how similar they were. When the men were in their 30s, it was learned that George and Brent were identical twins separated at birth and neither was related to Marcus. This led to disaffection and confusion among all the families involved. The story of Oskar and Jack is even more tragic. They were separated when they were six months old. Oskar was raised as a Nazi in Germany and Jack ended up in the Israeli Navy. When they finally met, they could not really connect because of cultural differences. Agnes and Audrey are identical twins separated by transsexualism. Agnes came to realize that she was a man trapped in a woman’s body and has gone through operations and hormonal treatment to become Audru. Some twins survived Mengele’s experiments at Birkenau. The quad boys from Canada are a rarity, accounting for only one birth in 1,000,000. Nicky, the oldest, was born with cerebral palsy and it may be that they are really two sets of identical twins and not true quads. Each story draws the reader into the lives of extraordinary people but leaves one with many questions about nature vs. nurture and themorality of cloning. Reviewer: Janet Julian
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

Library Journal
Fraternal twin Segal (psychology, Twin Studies Ctr., California State Univ., Fullerton; Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior) has made a profession out of her interest in the phenomenon of twinship. A veteran researcher who rose to academic prominence working on the renowned Minnesota Twin Study, she has interviewed and observed numerous sets of twins, recording the results in this fascinating study and engrossing collection of narratives. Part 1 focuses on remarkable cases of separation at birth, such as that of identical twins Oskar and Jack-one raised Catholic in Nazi Germany and the other Jewish in Trinidad. Despite their differences in nurture, nature made itself known: Oskar and Jack were strikingly similar in appearance and behavior. But genes and upbringing don't account for everything, as Part 2 demonstrates. Here, readers meet identical male triplets, two straight and one gay. The connection between twins is irrefutably special; readers will no doubt be enchanted. Highly recommended for all university and public libraries, especially those containing books like Marjorie Wallace's The Silent Twins.-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law Lib., PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Twin Research and Human Genetics

In Indivisible by Two, Professor Segal focuses on 12 diverse case studies of, almost exclusively, monozygotic (MZ; or identical) twins or higher multiples, Each example is so unique in its own way that the reader is left to wonder at the extensiveness of Professor Segal's case notes that she is able to create a book with so many examples that are so different. It is a credit to her that so many twins and their families are willing to share their experiences with her, invite her into their lives and agree to have their stories included in a book. Her attention to detail, humor and chatty style will ensure the book's appeal to a far-reading audience.
— Naomi R. Wray

Multiple Moments

If you have even the mildest curiosity about how the lives of twins and multiples are woven together, you will want to read Nancy L. Segal's new book, Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins...Every story reveals fascinating insight into the physical and emotional ties that bind identical multiples. These glimpses into multiples' lives raise questions about our own lives and families.
— Kim Skublics

Twinstuff.com
Each of the dozen stories provides fascinating reading...Each chapter in its own right provides insight into the special bonding between twins.
Twins Magazine

Indivisible by Two by Nancy Segal is a feast of stories about monozygotic (identical) twins. It demonstrates the variety of unusual experiences that sometimes come with twinship.
— Patricia M. Malmstrom

New York Review of Books

[A] fascinating explanation of the lives and experiences of twins...Segal's book is a rich source of answered and still unanswered questions about twins and twinships, and it leaves us wanting to know more.
— Frank J. Sulloway

Human Ethology Bulletin

Nancy Segal...moves beyond the confines of the research laboratory, immersing the reader in the multifaceted uniqueness of living life as a twin. Using compelling illustrations of the twins' entwined lives, Segal shows how the combination of an identical heredity and an unusual psychological closeness sustains lifelong similarities in wide-ranging psychological traits. At the same time, she offers many examples of the power of the non-shared environment to induce profound individual differences between pair members...Segal's scholarly and literary talents make Indivisible by Two an informative, accessible, and pleasurable read for diverse audiences.
— Laura E. Berk

Steven Pinker
A gripping collection of vignettes on an eternally fascinating phenomenon. Indivisible By Two is a wonderful book for its scientific implications, its human interest, and its literary quality.
Irving Gottesman
What E. O. Wilson did for ants, Nancy Segal has done for twins. . . . She has the ability to reach out and communicate with an infectious enthusiasm to both young minds and seasoned scientists.
Paul And Morgan Hamm
People have always thought that as twin athletes we were unique. Now, having read Nancy Segal's book, we're amazed at how many other twins can be so alike and so different at the same time. Indivisible by Two was a great read!
Twin Research and Human Genetics - Naomi R. Wray
In Indivisible by Two, Professor Segal focuses on 12 diverse case studies of, almost exclusively, monozygotic (MZ; or identical) twins or higher multiples, Each example is so unique in its own way that the reader is left to wonder at the extensiveness of Professor Segal's case notes that she is able to create a book with so many examples that are so different. It is a credit to her that so many twins and their families are willing to share their experiences with her, invite her into their lives and agree to have their stories included in a book. Her attention to detail, humor and chatty style will ensure the book's appeal to a far-reading audience.
Multiple Moments - Kim Skublics
If you have even the mildest curiosity about how the lives of twins and multiples are woven together, you will want to read Nancy L. Segal's new book, Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins...Every story reveals fascinating insight into the physical and emotional ties that bind identical multiples. These glimpses into multiples' lives raise questions about our own lives and families.
Twins Magazine - Patricia M. Malmstrom
Indivisible by Two by Nancy Segal is a feast of stories about monozygotic (identical) twins. It demonstrates the variety of unusual experiences that sometimes come with twinship.
New York Review of Books - Frank J. Sulloway
[A] fascinating explanation of the lives and experiences of twins...Segal's book is a rich source of answered and still unanswered questions about twins and twinships, and it leaves us wanting to know more.
Human Ethology Bulletin - Laura E. Berk
Nancy Segal...moves beyond the confines of the research laboratory, immersing the reader in the multifaceted uniqueness of living life as a twin. Using compelling illustrations of the twins' entwined lives, Segal shows how the combination of an identical heredity and an unusual psychological closeness sustains lifelong similarities in wide-ranging psychological traits. At the same time, she offers many examples of the power of the non-shared environment to induce profound individual differences between pair members...Segal's scholarly and literary talents make Indivisible by Two an informative, accessible, and pleasurable read for diverse audiences.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674019331
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy L. Segal is Distinguished Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I. Separated at Birth

1. Beer Cans and Key Rings

2. Switched at Birth

3. Oskar and Jack

Part II. Variations on Common Themes

4 Selectively Mute

5. Straight, Gay, and Straight

6. Agnes to Andru

Part III. Extraordinary Circumstances

7 Two Bodies and One Soul

8. Twin Towers

9. A Good-News Story

Part IV. Everyday Wonders

10. Selfless Love

11. Marital Math

12. Quad Boys Are Fine...

Afterword

Notes

Acknowledgments

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