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Sioux Falls Feminists endorse Twins for showing the enormous
influence genetics has on our behavior and how even identical twins
separated at birth, and then living in totally different environments,
have many core behavior characteristics that remain the same.

Twins
And What They Tell Us About Who We Are
By Lawrence Wright

Twins (1997) - 202 pages
Twins at Amazon.com

Twins threaten us because they undermine our notion of identity. We think we are who we are because of the life we have lived. We think we form the character and values of our children by the way we raise them...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 life is a charade, that the experiences that we presume have shaped us are little more than ornaments or curiosities we have picked up along the way.

How much are our character, intelligence, and lifestyle a result of our genes? In this compelling book, award-winning journalist Lawrence Wright reveals how twins are helping to unravel these and other mysteries of human identity.

Recent studies of twins have shaken the field of psychology to its foundation, revolutionizing our understanding of our own personalities. Because identical twins separated at birth share all the same genes, yet live separate lives, they offer a unique opportunity to test theories about the roles played by nature and nurture in shaping who we are.

With its genesis in the author's acclaimed New Yorker magazine article, Twins directly challenges many long-held beliefs. For instance, a series of groundbreaking studies of twins has shown that our genes play a much stronger role in shaping our identities than previously thought. Today, scientists can actually estimate what proportion of our intelligence, our personality and our behavior is determined by inherited tendencies. Even our political orientation and our religious commitment, it turns out, are largely governed by our genes. Twins is filled with astounding stories of identical twins who have lived entirely separate lives but have and incredible amount in common: their hobbies, their mannerisms, their taste in music, food, and clothes, their experiences in marriage and divorce, their careers, their sexuality even the names they've given their children.

Perhaps even more surprising is the discovery that our family life has startlingly little effect on the type of person we become. The nongenetic factors that have the greatest impact on shaping our lives are not the way our parents raise us, or the kind of family in which we grow up, but our experiences outside our families.

Introducing the latest findings in this heated area of research, Lawrence Wright presents a lively narrative that is at once engaging, provocative, and told with remarkable clarity. The ongoing and often volatile debate of nature vs. nurture has intrigued mankind for centuries. With Twins, Lawrence Wright provides a bold addition to current thinking, and a must-read for all those fascinated by the deepest mysteries of human nature and identity.

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for the New Yorker. His work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and Texas Monthly. He is the author of three previous books, including In The New World: Growing up with America from the Sixties to the Eighties; Saints and Sinners; and the critically acclaimed Remembering Satan. Mr. Wright received the National Magazine Award for reporting in 1993.

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Twins
And What They Tell Us About Who We Are
By Lawrence Wright

Sioux Falls Feminists endorse Twins for showing the enormous
influence genetics has on our behavior and how even identical twins
separated at birth, and then living in totally different environments,
have many core behavior characteristics that remain the same.