In this stunning debut novel, Darin Strauss combines fiction with astonishing fact to tell the story of history's most famous twins. Born in Siam in 1811-on a squalid houseboat on the Mekong River-Chang and Eng Bunker were international celebrities before the age of twenty. Touring the world's...
Stoneman's Raiders: In 1865, Civil War Union General George Stoneman sent his calvary across NC countryside with instructions to raze towns, ruin rail lines, etc. Beginning in Knoxville in March 1865, Stoneman led about four thousand cavalrymen over the mountains and into North Carolina and Virginia. The raiders tore up tracks, burned bridges, destroyed Confederate stores, captured towns like Christiansburg and Salisbury, fought some surprisingly sharp skirmishes, and terrified the population, achieving a sometimes exaggerated reputation. Their mission did not end until Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured.
ostensibly: Apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually
efficacy: The ability to produce a desired or intended result
bifurcate: To divide into two parts or branches; to fork
habiliment: The special dress or garb associated with an occasion or office
piquant: 1. Pleasantly pungent or tart in taste; spicy.2.a. Appealingly provocative: a piquant wit.b. Charming, interesting, or attractive: a piquant face.3. Archaic Causing hurt feelings; stinging.
toque: A woman's small, brimless, close-fitting hat.
cordon: 1. A line of people, military posts, or ships stationed around an area to enclose or guard it.2. A cord or braid worn as a fastening or ornament.3. A ribbon usually worn diagonally across the breast as a badge of honor or decoration.
obsequious: Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.
spurious: 1. Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; false.2. Of illegitimate birth.
unctuous: excessively ingratiating: attempting to charm or convince somebody in an unpleasantly suave, smug, or smooth way
dictum: An authoritative, often formal pronouncement
aegis: An aegis (pronounced /ˈiːdʒɨs/), from Greek αιγίς, is a large collar or cape worn in ancient times to display the protection provided by a high religious authority or the holder of a protective shield signifying the same, such as a bag-like garment that contained a shield. Sometimes the garment and the shield are merged, with a small version of the shield appearing on the garment.
capitulation: an agreement in time of war for the surrender to a hostile armed force of a particular body of troops, a town or a territory.
fusillade: A fusillade is the simultaneous and continuous firing of a group of firearms on command. It stems from the French word fusil, meaning firearm, and fusiller meaning to shoot. In the context of military tactics, the term is generally used to refer to a type of organized and concentrated gunfire from a military unit armed with small arms, and initiated by a command from a commanding officer
conscription act: Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service
"Butternut" soldier: Since the Confederacy didn't have as much money as the Union, some Confederate soldiers fought wearing homemade tan colored uniforms made from squashed butternuts. The butternuts were squashed and then used to dye the uniform.
flagitious: shamefully wicked, as persons, actions, or times.2.heinous or flagrant, as a crime; infamous.
doyenne: a woman who is the senior member, as in age or rank, of a group, class, profession, etc.
amenable: ready or willing to answer, act, agree, or yield; open to influence, persuasion, or advice; agreeable; submissive
bacchanal: A drunken or riotous celebration ; A reveler.
pentatonic scale: A pentatonic scale is a musical scale or mode with five notes per octave in contrast to a heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale and minor scale. Pentatonic scales are very common and are found all over the world. They are divided into those with semitones (hemitonic) and those without (anhemitonic).
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