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Indivisible by Two Lives of Extraordinary Twins [Paperback]

Nancy L Segal
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

18 Sep 2007
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (18 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674025709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674025707
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,323,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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[Segal] has interviewed and observed numerous sets of twins, recording the results in this fascinating study and engrossing collection of narratives...The connection between twins is irrefutably special; readers will no doubt be enchanted. -- Lynne F. Maxwell Library Journal 20050801 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 Twin Research and Human Genetics 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 Multiple Moments Each of the dozen stories provides fascinating reading...Each chapter in its own right provides insight into the special bonding between twins. 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 Twins Magazine 20060301 [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 New York Review of Books 20061130 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 Human Ethology Bulletin 20060101

About 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious twins 28 Oct 2007
As a parent of identical twins with no other twins in the near family, identical twins seem very mysterious. I continue to watch mine and wonder why and how they arrived in my family. Nancy Segal doesn't answer this question but she observes so many twins and has so much more insight into the myseries of twins that anyone with or even without twins would be interested in this book. Indivisible by Two focuses on "unusual" twins but I certainly felt that my twins were not excluded from her observations. Now I'll move onto her book, Entwined Lives. Hopefully it will add even more to my sketchy , overall view of my twins and others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stories, but badly needs editing help!! 9 Nov 2005
By Suzanne Amara - Published on
The twins, triplets and quadruplets profiled here are fascinating. There are all kinds of interesting situations written about---twins seperated at birth, quadruplets that are actually double sets of identical twins, selectively mute twins, identical twins knowingly adopted by two different families and many more. I wish I could say I loved this book, but as with the author's other book on twins, and even more here, there is a terrible need of better editing!

The author has several quirks to her writing. She throws as many details as she can into each paragraph, often with a pretty much unrelated idea at the end of one! She loves to quote people, which is nice, but she quotes them with abandon, whether the quotes really have much to do with what is being written about. She describes people's looks and what they are wearing to an odd extent, and she often analyses people's feelings based on single statements. I think she's a remarkable researcher and that she truly cares about the people she writes about, but she is not a writer at heart, and she needs a little more help making her writing as good as her topics.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Follow Up to Entwined Lives 21 Sep 2005
By J. Wilson - Published on
Dr. Segal has given us yet another delightful chance to learn more about who we are through the study of twins, this time using their unique stories. This book is a smooth read about different sets of multiples. Each story is compelling in its presentation of a different aspect of twins or other multiples. As an example, the story of triplets, two of which were stricken with multiple sclerosis, tells us so much about how nature (genetics) and nurture (environment) mix their influences on us. Just when you start to think one aspect starts to dominate the other one nudges itself into the human swirl that we are.

This book is a superb follow up to her more technical work shown in her first book, Entwined Lives. In contrast to that book, which was loaded with scientific facts and academic studies, she continues to tell us of the importance of twin studies through the lives of twins with unusual stories. Found in these stories are many of the conclusions and observations made in the first book.

Dr. Segal has a knack of packing a lot into a few words. I stopped marking the important sentences because every paragraph seemed to be a highlight. Also in this effort she reveals more about herself and her own twinship. It is obvious in this book her important research has resulted from both the outside and inside perspectives of twins.

This is a must read for any twin or anyone desiring to learn more about how we become who we are. It blasts past the typical twin anecdotes with new meaning as well as depth. Being an identical twin myself, I found both of Dr. Segal's books have helped me immensely in understanding my own twinship, and perhaps more importantly, the loss of my twin some years ago. I have found much comfort in knowing how and why natural clones are not perfect copies of each other.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating book about twins 10 Nov 2005
By Avid Reader - Published on
Twin expert Nancy Segal has managed to track down and interview various sets of interesting twins -- those who survived Mengele's horrific experiments during the Holocaust, "the firemen twins," who were separated at birth and twins who married other twins. I found the resulting book so fascinating, I devoured it in one weekend.

Congratulations on a job well done, Nancy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Reading Maven - Published on
WELL RESEARCHED AND DESCRIBED BY THE EXPERT ON TWINS. SUMMARIZES YEARS OF DATA ON VARIOUS SORTS OF TWIN ISSUES. IF YOU HAVE OR KNOW TWINS, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU. It's interesting, filled with so much information on a variety of twin issues, and the anecdotes on various twin combinations kept me riveted. What a great job Dr. Segal has done!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it was ok 9 May 2010
By SSL - Published on
Interesting enough, but the author went on and on and on for about four pages after I thought each chapter was done.
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