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If I Perish

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,246 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Ahn E. Sook stood alone among thousands of kneeling people. Her bold defiance of the tyrannical demand to bow to pagan Japanese shrines condemned her to a living death in the filth and degradation of a Japanese prison. This brave woman remained faithful to Christ in the face of brutality, oppression, and ruthlessness of her captors. The story of how she won many of her fel ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Moody Publishers (first published 1977)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  1,246 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow this book was powerful! My eyes were opened to the reality of persecution during WWII, as well as to the reality of God's all sufficiency. Reading this book made me realize that God does not always spare us from trials, even intense, painful trials. Sometimes we feel like losing hope, (who could know this more than Ahn?!) but in the end God always keeps his promises. He has a plan and we just have to wait- even if it means sitting in a literally frigid prison cell with little or no food. Thi ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, christian
This is the story of a Korean lady who suffered under Japanese rule during the world war II. At that time Koreans were forced to bow to the Japanese temple called shinto. When Korean Christians refused to bow to the Japanese temple, they were imprisoned and suffered torture and death. Ms. Ahn went to Japan to warn them of God's impending judgment if they do not repent. Later she was imprisoned. Initially she was imprisoned together with more than 40 Christians leaders, but when the war was over ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had no idea of the persecution Korean Christians suffered at the hands of the Japanese during their invasion. I knew only that Japan is not Korea's favorite country. I felt proud of the author for not bowing at the shrine and wondered why all the others bowed. I was amazed that she was not tortured but experienced so much favor, but I wonder why she was treated more kindly than the other imprisoned Korean Christians. Why did the Lord provide her with special protection? I don't know, but I don ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS BOOK. If you want to be encouraged in your walk with Christ literally every page (once you are 1/3 of the way into the book that is) THEN READ IF I PERISH. Dead serious.

If I Perish is the story of Ahn Ei Sook, written by herself several years afterword. During the years where Japan controled Korea, she stoof up to the forced shrine worship. Ahn then flees into hiding to prepare herself for what she knows is coming for her: Imprisonment by the Japanese. That takes her on a huge crazy journe
This was an inspiring true story of a young woman who stood against the forced idol worship the Japanese imposed upon the Koreans around the time of WWII. She told the Japanese that judgment would come upon if they did not repent. And she was thrown into a Japanese prison, where she stayed for many years. She refused to back down, and even among torture and hardships gave thanks to God. I wasn't sure about Miss Ahn and another man hearing "the voice of God." Otherwise, I might have given this bo ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story is incredible. It built my faith so much, to read about this woman who was in jail for 6 years because of her faith and how she endured horrific things and in the midst of it all praised God every day. The only reason this doesn't get 5 stars from me is because I struggled with the writing style. It may have been something lost in translation but it did not flow well. Regardless, I would highly recommend this! ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
It is a well-told biography, though sometimes I felt that it focused somewhere less interesting than it could have, from a storytelling point of view. It could have been written better, but many people will find her easy to relate to, and see her story as encouraging. Shows the terrible reality of religious persecution.
Aug 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-own
It's about the Japanese occupation of Korea before and during WWII and how Christians were persecuted. Not the best written book, but a very interesting memoir. ...more
Angie Thompson
This was an amazing story! I've read quite a bit about World War II but somehow, I'd never heard of the Christian persecution that was happening in Japanese-occupied Korea. Knowing the "end of the story" so to speak, I was awed at the idea that God had not left Japan without a witness or a warning before the terrible devastation they experienced at the end of the war.

Miss Ahn presents a very realistic and humble testimony, and I appreciated that she was so honest and open about her doubts, her f
Michelle Brock
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was an excellent, readable Christian biography. Some Christian readers may be uneasy with some of Kim's testimony that seems a bit fantastic (e.g., audible instructions from God on occasion). These don't bother me in this story because of the obvious emphasis and reliance of the author on the Word of God. The Bible was central to her life, and was the guiding reference point for her survival, not a dream or miracle. In fact, her mother rebuked her when one time she was searching for a sign. ...more
C.A. Doehrmann
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, reviewed
Christian Book Reviews

“If I Perish” follows Ahn E. Sook, a young frail school teacher living in Korea before the onset of World War 2. She sees the growing persecution in Korea from the Japanese and prepares herself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be a martyr for Jesus. Even though honoring God puts her very life at stake, he embarks on a mission to warn the Japanese government officials of the dangers of persecuting God’s children.

Stylistic Impressions
A comfortable read. So
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Very interesting story dealing with the persecution of Christian Koreans by the Japanese during the WWII era, including the author's years in various prisons. Inspiring as well.

It could have used some editing to improve clarity at some points (such as with the timeline) and believability. With the latter, I'm not necessarily suggesting that any of the miraculous events didn't happen, just that they are sometimes written in a way that makes them sound fantastical. I think much of that is the resu
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Truly a triumphant tale of all-enduring faith and love overcoming hardship, suffering and trial to bear witness of His goodness and grace. Nothing was more touching than these emphatic lines, summing up the core of Ahn's biography: "Everything on either side of the train was wrapped in shadows as black as an evil man's soul, but the sky was punctured with light as bright as ten thousand times ten thousand jewels gleaming with God's light. True faith should be like those stars, I thought, shining ...more
Jul 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Shawna
What an awesome book. Esther Ahn Kim, a young Korean christian faces imprisonment, persecution and even death all because of her belief in God and her faithfulness to him. After reading this account one can truly see that our God is the "God of the Impossible" and His ways are above ours. A must read for anyone seeking what our God can do for us in times of trials and hardships if only we believe and remain faithful. ...more
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another book that changed my life. I believe the main reason is
that Esther's testimony helped me see God so much more as He is.
Almighty God with Whom nothing, I mean NOTHING is impossible, and
the Almighty God Who is always in control of EVERY event on this
planet, from world wars to my personal every day life.
Amazing story of this young woman who stood for Christ, for her
faith in a heavily idol-worshiping (forced by the Japanese) Korea.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating auto-biography of an ordinary young woman who remained courageous while enduring much persecution, earning the respect and admiration of so many of her enemies. Sometimes I found her tone to be a little whiny, but considering all that this woman endured, that tone added believability to her story. I can't imagine how whiny I'd be if sitting in a jail cell. Ordinary woman, Extraordinary God. ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best missionary books that I've ever read! (and I've read a lot) It was very eye-opening and thought-provoking. This young christian is imprisoned in a Japanese prison camp in Korea for her faith in 1939-1945. It isn't like she's a "super christian." She daily seeks to praise and worship God and witness to her jailors and other prisoners. I highly recommend this to every christian wanting to better understand what other people suffer for their faith. ...more
Dawn Roberts
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first 100 pages of this book were difficult for me. Not knowing Ahn Ei Sook's story, I couldn't get a feel for where the story was going, or why she focused so much on her fear of torture. After that, the story really came alive, and I found her narrative of evangelism in a Korean prison during WWII to be very compelling. Curious to know about the rest of her life after she escaped to South Korea and traveled to America. ...more
Carol Goodpaster
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though published in 1977, this memoir of the author's WWII Japanese prison internment matches in importance and intensity that of Corrie Ten Boom's in The Hiding Place and Louis Zamperini's in Unbroken. I had never heard of Ahn Ei Sook and her story as a Korean Christian who refused to bow and worship the Japanese shrines and idols. So glad I picked out this paperback from the lending book shelf at the YMCA. ...more
Apr 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Although certain parts might not theologically jive with some more conservative people, i love this book not only because of personal ties but because of how through such a weak vessel, God was shown to be huge. How one little woman can stand up to high officials, and choose joy in times of unthinkable trials is amazing to me.
An amazing view at the persecution of one Christian woman in asia. As an American Christian I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to face the possibility of poverty and death for my beliefs. This book gave me a glimps and I will never again take for granted the freedoms that I have been given.
J. Michael
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone

Topical Interest include: Martyrdom, knowing your purpose, hearing God's voice, being filled with the Holy Spirit, the Sabbath, weak faith, God's name a few!

I recommend this book as a "MUST READ" for anyone interested in faith.
Jody Sloan
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a testimony! This book was very hard to put down! Esther's faith was tested to the maximum place a human could go. As she shares her experiences and sees them in the light of God's love for her, it encouraged me in the world I live! It was a little rough in the writing in a few places but the content of her story more than made up for it! ...more
Lisa Jacobson
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very moving book. Really makes you stop and reflect about your own faith and what you'd be willing to endure if faced with torture and/or prison. In some ways, Mrs. Kim's life and experience is so far removed from our own experience that it's hard to imagine..and yet I think there's a benefit from "imagining" too. Convicting. ...more
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Beautifully written, and an extremely moving book. It brought me to tears and caused fits of laughter. It made me want to fast with her and I felt her joy in my heart. If we could all have hearts as strong as Ahn Ei Sook the world would be a much better place. She moves you to want to help others more and see God's unconditional love touch every heart you meet. ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
What an incredible woman!!

The book, though sometimes awkward in its writing style, is a beautiful story of this young woman's unwavering dedication to Christ in very terrible situations. Miss Ahn's one prayer throughout her life was that she would not disappoint God. Her courage and faith are challenging and inspiring.
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing true story of a young Korean Christian who refuses to bow down to the Japanese pagan shrines and is eventually put in prison for several years until the end of WWII. She witnesses many miracles as she submits her life to her King and Savior. This book strengthened my faith and now I am reading it to my granddaughter.
gayle hall
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a book of inspiration!

A book that graphically describes how to stand firm for Jesus in the very darkest situations imaginable. God will prevail during hate, persecution and torture. Oh, the joy of following Jesus completely. America, quickly turning away from the one true God needs this message today!
Mar 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
this book changed my life... this woman is has the most amazing story ever! her faith changed the world, and I mean that literally! She was truly God-sent to warn the Japanese and even warned them about "sulfur rain!" ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
February 2011 Book Club selection
Autobiography of a Korean woman that lived through the persecution of Christians by occupying Japanese --- all the way through to the split of Korea.

What an amazing faith filled and humble woman!
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