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A leading expert on twins delves into the stories behind her research to reveal the profound joys and real-life traumas of twelve remarkable sets of twins, triplets, and quadruplets.
Indivisible by Two introduces us to an assortment of memorable characters, from the "Fireman Twins"--brothers who, though reared separately, are astonishingly 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 Josef 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.
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 moving stories remind us how incompletely any theory explains real life--twin or not.
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
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
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
[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
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
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)
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...
Posted March 19, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted September 13, 2011
No text was provided for this review.