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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review - One Vision Only, the Biography of Isobel Kuhn


Girl Reading on the Lawn by James Archer


Once, a long time ago now, I started a book blog at The Home Maker's Corner.  It didn't get many entries, despite the fact that I'm a pretty avid reader most of the time.  Well, as a way to add content here without too much work since they are rather short bits, it seemed like it might be a good idea to transfer the few posts I have there to this blog now and, if time and interest permits, maybe put up an occasional new one later on. My reading interests are somewhat varied, so there should be a little variety.  Also, I read quite a lot of vintage books, so some of these will not be available from the local book store.  If you are interested, you may have to look up a copy through ABEbooks.com or Amazon's used book dealers. You could also check with your local used book dealer.  Some of them will try to find books for readers.

Today's book review is about one of my favorite writers.  Her book In the Arena has been a great help to me at various times in my life.

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One Vision Only - Biography of Isobel Kuhn
By Carolyn L. Canfield
Out of print.

Rated: Highly recommended. An edifying and enjoyable read.

Here is a sweet biography of the beloved missionary/author Isobel Kuhn. Mrs. Kuhn, with her husband, was a missionary to the Lisu tribe in western China prior to and during the days of the Communist take over. She wrote a number of books which were well loved and read by many Christians over the years. This biography gives an account of her life from the perspective of others, as well as a large middle portion that is quoted from an unpublished manuscript by Isobel (it may have been published as a short book later). With quotes from letters and observations from friends, this book gives a different look at a life that was largely lived under the motto "God First".


For anyone who has enjoyed Isobel Kuhn's writings, this book is a must. For anyone who has not, it will be a good introduction to her and there are plenty of her helpful, edifying and sometimes humorous observations, as usual.

Too many Christian biographies glorify the subject far beyond measure. To the credit of the author, this book does not do that too much, perhaps largely because Isobel herself was so open and frank about her own faults and the author of this book knew her personally and consulted with her in writing the book. There is some bit of exalting in places, but it is not too thick to digest. Mrs. Kuhn's own keen sense of humor and honesty helped her see the ridiculousness of human nature and to admit to it's faults, both in herself and others. An honest author could not write an accurate account of her life and force a halo and wings where they would not fit! Mrs. Canfield obviously strove to be honest in her writing.

This book has a bittersweet ending as it closes with the account of Isobel going to be with the Lord. For those who have read her other books it is "the end of the story" which we can never get from her own writings. Anyone who has known and loved her through her books will probably feel like they lost a good friend when they read of her Home-going, despite the fact that she has been gone so long already (humanly speaking). But, as always, it is good to see a servant of our Lord "faithful unto death."

One plus in this book is that, as far as I remember, all the scripture quotes are from the KJV Bible. This is not true of Isobel's own books, so it makes this one a bit more enjoyable for me personally.

I also appreciated the author dealing with some of Isobel's early faults as a young Christian. One in particular was her tendency to use accusations and work on people's emotions to try to force them to do what she perceived to be God's will. She was rightly ashamed of this later when she had matured beyond this. There are many Bible believing Christians today who could do well to learn this lesson too.

A good verse for this book: Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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