Accidental Brothers

Accidental Brothers

The Story of Twins Exchanged at Birth and the Power of Nature and Nurture

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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"A unique window into human behavior and development." --Steven Pinker

The riveting story of two sets of identical twins separated at birth and improbably reunited as adults, a dream case for exploring nature and nurture.

Accidental Brothers tells the unique story of two sets of identical Colombian twin brothers who discovered at age 25 that they were mistakenly raised as fraternal twins--when they were not even biological brothers. Due to an oversight that presumably occurred in the hospital nursery, one twin in each pair was switched with a twin in the other pair. The result was two sets of unrelated "fraternal" twins--Jorge and Carlos, who were raised in the lively city of Bogotá; and William and Wilber, who were raised in the remote rural village of La Paz, 150 miles away. Their parents and siblings were aware of the enormous physical and behavioral differences between the members of each set, but never doubted that the two belonged in their biological families.

Everyone's life unraveled when one of the twins--William--was mistaken by a young woman for his real identical twin, Jorge. Her "discovery" led to the truth--that the alleged twins were not twins at all, but rather unrelated individuals who ended up with the wrong families.

Blending great science and human interest, Accidental Brothers by Nancy L. Segal and Yesika S. Montoya will inform and entertain anyone interested in how twin studies illuminate the origins of human behavior, as well as mother-infant identification and the chance events that can have profound consequences on our lives.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250101907
Branch Call Number: 306.875 Seg
Characteristics: xvii, 325 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Montoya, Yesika S. - Author

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GracieLucy
Oct 18, 2018

Not well written and too repetitive

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DorisWaggoner
Oct 01, 2018

Parts of the book were confusing, but imagine what living it must have been like! Pictures helped, as did descriptions of the wider Colombian culture within which the cosmopolitan city of Bogota, where one pair of "accidental brothers" grew up, and the rural hinterlands where the other pair grew up without amenities. While the two sets of identical twins were born in different places, all were premature, and one baby born in a rural clinic had severe enough medical problems that he needed to be sent to the maternity hospital in Bogota, where the other pair was born one day apart. To this day, no one knows how one rural baby ended up going home with the woman who lived in Bogota, and one of the Bogota born babies accidentally was sent to the rural setting.

The senior author, a fraternal twin herself, has made a career of twin studies, especially those raised apart, and the very few (9 cases) who have been switched at birth or some later date. But the two Colombian pairs of twins are the only case of two pairs of identical twins to be switched anywhere in the world known so far. While both sets of parents were told their twins were identical, it soon became obvious their children weren't, as they didn't look or act like anyone else in their large families.They were discovered purely by chance at age 25. Fortunately, the four were able to adjust well to what one called "adding new brothers." The second author, a Colombian social worker, learned about them, and knowing of the senior author's interest in twin studies, contacted her. Both authors visited the four men twice, and tested them to verify which men were twins, a process the men enjoyed and found fascinating. As a group, the four are suing the hospital, hoping to learn how the switches occurred, and to gain enough compensation to improve life for the rural community, and improve the education of the rural-raised men, who only had 5 years of schooling. This is the most fascinating, thought provoking book I've read this year.

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