xxvi, 388 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
9780871404473 (hardcover) 0871404478
"With wry humor, Shakespearean profundity, and trenchant insight, Yunte Huang brings to life the story of America's most famous nineteenth-century Siamese twins. 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."--Publisher's description.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 373-380) and index.
Formatted Contents Note
In Siam. Siam The Chinese twins Cholera The king and us Departure First years. A curiosity in Boston The monster, or not Gotham city The city of brotherly love Knocking at the gate Racial freaks Sentimental education America on the road. The great eclipse A satirical tale The Lynnfield battle An intimate rebellion Old dominion Emancipation A parable America on the road The deep south Head bumps Look homeward, angel. Wilkesboro Traphill A universal truth Foursome Mount Airy, or Monticello The age of humbugs Minstrel freaks The Civil War and beyond. Seeing the elephant Reconstruction The last radiance of the setting sun Afterlife Epilogue: Mayberry, USA.
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company,