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Twins: And What They Tell Us About Who We Are Paperback – January 27, 1999
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""This is a book about far more than twins: it is about what twins can tell us about ourselves.""—The New York Times
""With plenty of amazing stories about the similarities and differences of twins, Wright respectfully shows, too, how their special circumstance in life challenges our notions of individuality. A truly fascinating but sometimes spooky (Mengele's experiments with twins at Auschwitz figure among Wright's examples) study.""—American Library Association
""Like so much of Wright's work, this book is a pleasure to read. Because he writes so well, without pushing a particular point of view, he soon has you pondering questions you have tended to comfortably ignore.""—Austin American-Statesman
""Informative and entertaining . . . A provocative subject well considered by a talented journalist.""—Kirkus Reviews
From the Back Cover
Critical acclaim for Lawrence Wright's
A Rhone-Poulenc Science Prize Finalist
"This is a book about far more than twins: it is about what twins can tell us about ourselves."--The New York Times
"With plenty of amazing stories about the similarities and differences of twins, Wright respectfully shows, too, how their special circumstance in life challenges our notions of individuality. A truly fascinating but sometimes spooky (Mengele's experiments with twins at Auschwitz figure among Wright's examples) study."--American Library Association
"Like so much of Wright's work, this book is a pleasure to read. Because he writes so well, without pushing a particular point of view, he soon has you pondering questions you have tended to comfortably ignore."--Austin American-Statesman
"Informative and entertaining . . . a provocative subject well considered by a talented journalist."--Kirkus Reviews
- ASIN : 0471296449
- Publisher : Wiley; 1st edition (January 27, 1999)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 202 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780471296447
- ISBN-13 : 978-0471296447
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.56 x 0.51 x 8.55 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #469,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The book is well-written and interesting for those with an interest in the subject matter. Some of the stories of the research subjects are fascinating and give one pause. It most definitely provides much food for thought on the issue of nature vs. nurture. The author manages to makes complex issues eminently readable. Those with an interest in twins should find this book to be a compelling read on the subject.
Identical twins are, in a sense, best gifts nature can give us to understand about ourselves especially if they were reared apart. This affords us to investigate whether environments and socioeconomic backgrounds, or the genetics have greater or major influence over our personalities, political and religious inclinations and so on.
This book mainly details studies done by Dr. Peter Neubauer (chapters 1 and 3 -- four sets of identical twins plus one set of identical triplets) and Dr. Thomas J. Bouchard (chapter 4 -- sixty six pairs of identical twins and two sets of identical triplets). Other major studies were also cited in this book.
The amazing conclusion from these studies showed that despite the different socioeconomic backgrounds and environments these twins and triplets were raised, they have, in many, many aspects, become the same person. This proves that nurture has very little to do with forming our personality, interests, inclinations, etc. and that nature is the dominate factor. Here is a quote from the last chapter of this book:
"We think we are born with the potential to be many things, and to behave in an infinite variety of ways, and that we consciously navigate a path through the obstacles and opportunities that life presents us with, through a faculty we called freewill. But when we read about twins who have been separated at birth and reunited in middle age only to discover that in many respects, they have become the same person. It suggests that ... The experiences that we presume have shaped us are little more than ornaments or curiosities we have picked up along the way and that the injunctions of our parents or the traumas of our youth that we believed to have been the lodestones of our character may have had little more effect on us than a book we may have read or a show we have seen on television ... Twin studies, have made a persuasive case that much of our identity is stamped on us from conception; to that extent, our lives seem to be pre-chosen -- all we have to do is live out the script that is written in our genes."
This book forces us to contemplate on the following important issues:
1. The government -- What are the roles of the government? What social programs government should drop and what new ones to add?
2. The education -- How to reshape and restructure?
3. Parenting -- How to raise children?
4. Social sciences and psychology -- What fields are invalidated by these studies and what fields are vindicated?
5. Political theories -- What fields are invalidated and validated?
of an individual. We have all observed familial physical movements, but the extent of personality characteristics and
attitudes that are revealed to be genetic are astouding as revealed in Wright's book. This book has the effect of allowing
the reader a freedom from constant self-analysis about recognizable traits. It is an enlightening, and also uplifting, book.