The H-Bomb and the Jesus Rock Now Available On Amazon


The Berlin Blockade. Suez Crisis. Cuban Missile Crisis. Yom Kippur War. During the Cold War, there was constant political unrest and conflicts. Just as any war affects every nation and its people, crises profoundly impact the way children view the world.

Having experienced childhood through the Cold War himself, John Manderino's new novel, The H-Bomb and the Jesus Rock, explores how children deal with fear during wars. In The H-Bomb and the Jesus Rock, Manderino writes about three children's perspectives on the Cuban Missile Crisis and how it molded their view of the adult world. He also explores how, in his view, all wars end up as ‘holy wars.'

"Following 9-11, there was a disturbing sense that the ‘War on Terror' was a crusade, which reminded me of the period during my childhood when the Cold War was being characterized as a religious struggle between the forces of godless Russia and Christian - indeed, Catholic - America," says Manderino. "Actually, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuns, the priests, and the Pope led us to believe that this frightening stand-off was the result of our failure to pray with sufficient ardor for Russia to turn to Jesus."

The three children in the book, Ralph, his sister Lou, and enemy Toby Tyler's lives intertwine on October 27, 1962, the darkest day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Ralph and his sister Lou discover a rock that resembles Jesus. Their intention is to hand over the ‘holy' rock to the church, but Toby thinks differently. He wants to set up an exhibition and have people pay to see the Jesus rock: "Is it Jesus? Or just a rock? You decide!" The storyline continues as the children struggle for the Jesus rock and "saving the world."

Painfully comical and brutally honest, The H-Bomb and the Jesus Rock explores themes such as:

How children deal with fear, especially during time of war
The notion that all wars eventually turn into "holy wars"
How children create their own narratives reflecting the adult world - merging fantasy with real-life

"Through the story, I attempt to show the way in which a profound national crisis gets interpreted, played out, and ‘resolved' by children," adds Manderino. "It's important that we understand the way fear operates in children, the way they absorb, and respond to a moment of national emergency as well as what narratives they use to ‘resolve' the issue, the adult ideas they draw on, and how easily they are manipulated into a particular interpretation of the crisis."

John Manderino is a successful author who has published three novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir with Academy Chicago Publishers. Manderino has also written plays that have been performed at theater festivals and other venues. A stage version of his memoir Crying at Movies was recently produced. He lives in Maine with his wife Marie.

The H-Bomb and the Jesus Rock is available at and

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