Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal 10.1.2005 Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674018259
ISBN-10: 0674018257
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$4.60 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$18.50 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
23 New from $14.33 39 Used from $4.60
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$18.50 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal
  • +
  • When Breath Becomes Air
Total price: $33.50
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Analyzing case studies past and present, Dormurat Dreger, an associate professor of science and technology at Michigan State, questions assumptions about anatomical norms in a solemn and politically passionate exploration of separation surgery on conjoined twins. Providing historical and contemporary evidence that most adult conjoined twins do not desire to be separated, and that many surgeries are carried out on children too young to object, Dormurat Dreger voices distaste for Americans' failure to tolerate anatomical difference and instead fetishize individualism at all cost. Making ample use of her previous study of hermaphrodites, she likens separation surgery to reconstructive surgery on the sexually ambiguous genitalia of "intersex" children. Both types of surgery, she argues, share the dubious social rather than strictly medical goal of making such children appear more "normal." Aided by statistics that bespeak a high mortality rate, Dormurat Dreger mines cases of separation surgery around the world for the rational and ethical flaws in medical decision making, building a strong case against intervention. At the heart of her moral questioning is suspicion of the institutions involved, and of parents who may be motivated more by ill-conceived feelings about normality than by rational consideration for the children's futures. This pithily provocative critique of medical paternalism and society's blind spots vis-à-vis anatomical standards provides a valuable opportunity to ponder the high-profile surgeries on conjoined twins that most of us know only through the news headlines we habitually fail to question. 13 illus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Part history of medicine, part consciousness-raising freak show, this surprisingly entertaining book examines cultural reactions to conjoined twins and other anatomical anomalies. Dreger argues that Victorians were more appreciative than moderns of people born "different," viewing them as "authorities on a unique and strangely attractive experience." Nowadays, pediatric surgeons so prize normalcy that they perform sexual surgery on infants without concern for adult function; they may also withhold information from parents, and even override their consent, when dealing with birth defects. Dreger sometimes strays into lit-crit goofiness—for her, conjoined twins call to mind every "crazy-in-love" song you've ever heard—but her examples persuasively make the case that the anatomically different feel normal to themselves.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 10.1.2005 edition (October 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674018257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674018259
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a descendent of Eng Bunker (1/2 of the Original Siamese Twins), I was thrilled to read this well thought out and compassionate book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone striving to understand the issues that are faced with conjoinment and "singletons" need for privacy and individuality. An important book that helps "de-freak" the humans that are born with unique anatomy. Thank you!
Comment 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Aurora Grace on September 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dreger hit the trifecta here. Her book was informative, thought-provoking, and engaging. The pages are filled with anecdotes of the lives of conjoined twins throughout history, the decisions they've made and the lifestyles they've lived.

It offers up some fascinating questions of morality. My favorites were these three:
(1) Why do many people consider it wrong to exploit conjoined twins by putting them on display for their unusual bodies? Isn't that exactly what we do in the modeling industry?
(2) Why is there this pervasive theory that conjoined twins should offer up their bodies for the advancement of medicine? Doctors usually don't offer proper monetary compensation to twins or their families for access to the corpses of twins or for hordes of medical students to watch separation surgeries take place. Isn't this sense of entitlement, in a sense, worse than offering payment?
(3) Under what circumstances would it be morally acceptable to sacrifice one twin for the sake of the other twin's well-being?

It examines the idea of disability versus differences, and whether performing normalizing surgery is really a healthier course of action than becoming more adaptive and accommodating to one another's differences as a society.

This book was well-researched, and I kept telling my boyfriend about the stuff I was reading in the book, asking his opinion on philosophical questions and saying "Hey, did you know that ...?" I highly recommend this book.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By HTC on December 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. Though slightly outdated, (for example, conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel are no longer children... they're twenty-somethings with a reality show and an elementary school teaching job), the book is still fascinating and relevant. I was taken by comparisons between society's common over-enthusiasm for separating conjoined twins (often creating two disabled or even dead individuals in separate bodies instead of two often otherwise healthy individuals in one body) and society's misguided need to "fix" the genitals of babies born with unusual genitalia (leading to adults who often have lower sexual feeling and who are sometimes made into a gender that feels wrong...) I hope the author updates this book to account for some of the stories of conjoined and separated twins featured on tlc and the former discovery channel in recent years...
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book raises questions about peoples' reactions to conjoined twins that may have important implications for many other unusual traits. It eloquently questions common assumptions about the desire to seem normal. It has led me to wonder about the extent to which healthcare is used to make people more normal at the cost of making them less healthy.

The book presents strong evidence that conjoined twins who remain conjoined are at least as well off as those who are separated, and some evidence that separations reduce the twins' life expectancy, possibly by a significant amount.

Remarkably, of the twins who remained conjoined to adulthood, only one pair requested separation (they didn't survive it), and among those whose refused separation are a number whose twin had just died (which meant that separation appeared to offer the only chance for the remaining twin to survive).

This doesn't mean conjoined twins are better off that way (those who have been separated seem equally satisfied with their status), but it strongly suggests that decisions to perform separations are motivated by something other than concern over the twins wellbeing. And it suggests that people who claim things like "The proposed operation would give these children's bodies the integrity that nature denied them" are imposing their values on others in ways which would be considered unacceptable if the victims had a little political power.

The book reports a fair number of statements by doctors (and occasionally parents) which suggest they consider a normal appearance worth risking health to achieve. The book also theorizes that having a normal child is an important enough part of parents' identity to override their interest in their children's' wellbeing.
Read more ›
1 Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The book has an axe to grind, that is true, but the subject matter is grotesquely interesting. The (lengthy) introduction promises it's going to be more of an examination of all freaks, but it really focuses on conjoined twins. Through a historical study on subjects like Chang and Eng, the original Siamese twins, disastrous attempts at separating twins, plus accounts from existing paired humans, Dreger is trying to say that we shouldn't try to fix what isn't broken. All these people say that they wouldn't separate if they had the choice. The medical industry sees pathology where the "freaks" find normalcy.

It makes some very good points and I agree with the author. Except there's one part where it really loses me. Where, if it was cut, it would have improved my rating/review. She tries to compare pregnancy to having a conjoined twin. She uses lines like "this entity is dependent on the other for food and oxygen supply. Eventually, through societal pressure and the dominant's personal desires for independence, she decides to make the separation." This, I feel, is deceitful, manipulating the reader through withholding information.

I don't think anyone can deny that pregnancy is a natural part of life, with the end goal being TO SEPARATE and become an independent entity, capable of making more offspring. Conjoined twins, while it may be natural, isn't the typical end state, and doesn't behoove propagation of the species. The fact that it often results in biological and reproductive problems for both parties emphasizes this fact. This attempt at melodramatic appeal, by saying that reproduction is just as normal as conjoinment, is misrepresentation to prove a point.

But if you can get past that fact, it's one of the better non-fiction books I've read. If you've got to do some kind of high school research project you could do worse than this source.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal