The Cross and the Switchblade

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The Cross and the Switchblade
AuthorDavid Wilkerson
John and Elizabeth Sherrill
CountryUnited States
GenreBiography, Crime
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
Media typePrint

The Cross and the Switchblade is a biographical book written by pastor David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, published by Random House in 1963.


In 1958, pentecostal pastor David Wilkerson of Assemblies of God is touched by an article in Life Magazine about seven teenagers who are members of a criminal gang. [1] Alone and with little money, he will go to Brooklyn, sometimes at the risk of his life, to talk about Jesus with members of street gangs. [2] A meeting will particularly mark him, that of Nicky Cruz, a member of a street gang, the "Mau maus".


The book became a bestseller, with more than 15 million copies distributed in over 30 languages. [3]


In 1970, a film adaptation was released, starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada (in his screen debut) as Nicky Cruz, the teen gang member whose life was transformed by Wilkerson's ministry. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Randall Herbert Balmer, Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and expanded edition, Baylor University Press, USA, 2004, p. 744
  2. ^ Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2013, p. 163
  3. ^ Robert Crosby, Remembering David Wilkerson,, USA, April 29, 2011
  4. ^ Geoff King, Claire Molloy, Yannis Tzioumakis, American Independent Cinema: Indie, Indiewood and Beyond, Routledge, USA, 2013, p. 188

External links[edit]