The Lives of Chang & Eng

The Lives of Chang & Eng

Siam's Twins in Nineteenth-century America

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Connected at the chest by a band of flesh, Chang and Eng Bunker toured the United States and the world from the 1820s to the 1870s, placing themselves and their extraordinary bodies on exhibit as "freaks of nature" and "Oriental curiosities." More famously known as the Siamese twins, they eventually settled in rural North Carolina, married two white sisters, became slave owners, and fathered twenty-one children between them. Though the brothers constantly professed their normality, they occupied a strange space in nineteenth-century America. They spoke English, attended church, became American citizens, and backed the Confederacy during the Civil War. Yet in life and death, the brothers were seen by most Americans as "monstrosities," an affront they were unable to escape.

Joseph Andrew Orser chronicles the twins' history, their sometimes raucous journey through antebellum America, their domestic lives in North Carolina, and what their fame revealed about the changing racial and cultural landscape of the United States. More than a biography of the twins, the result is a study of nineteenth-century American culture and society through the prism of Chang and Eng that reveals how Americans projected onto the twins their own hopes and fears.

Publisher: Chapel Hill :, The University of North Carolina Press,, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781469618302
Branch Call Number: 616. 0430922 BUN O
Characteristics: x, 259 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Alternative Title: The lives of Chang and Eng


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 28, 2018

Born near Bangkok, Siam (1811) - Chang and Eng Bunker were delivered as newborn babies joined at the chest by a band of flesh and cartilage.

Between the years 1828 to 1866 they toured the US and the world billed as "freaks of nature", displaying their conjoined bodies to one and all for a price.

Skillfully written by Joseph Orser - "The Lives of Chang and Eng" takes a close-up look at both the lives and the times of these 2 men who eventually settled down to a life of peace and quiet in rural North Carolina.

This well-researched book also includes several photographs and illustrations.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top