Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas
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Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas
Hardcover, 414 pages
Published October 1st 1988 by Harcourt (first published 1988)
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Timmy
I can't believe this one wasn't more popular. The story is just insane.
Peacegal
This was an unusual book to read, because I visit the Hare Krishna temple fairly frequently. Not that I believe in their religion--or any religion, for that matter. Rather, my husband and I just find it a peaceful place to visit and eat delicious Indian food. Hare Krishna farms are also most likely the only source in the Western world for truly ethical dairy.

However, it wasn't all happy cows and vegetable korma back in the 1970s and 80s. Name your crime and it seems that some prominent devotees...more
2old4nonsense
I remember the Hare Krishnas in the 60's and 70's. So I was interested in this book from the start. And I was happy to have more than 200 pages to read.
Perkimom
Interesting account of the rise and fall of the Hare Krishnas.
Patrick O'Neil
I never liked the Krishnas when they were around in old days. I found them not only incredibly annoying, but disingenuous, irreverent, and pompous in their zeal. Yet mostly they appeared lost, or shifty, or maybe it was just brainwashed. The endless chanting, and dancing seemed so lame and put on. But I never thought them capable of all the misdeeds and criminal exploits chronicled in John Hubner's Monkey on a Stick.

Drugs deals, murder, con jobs and thievery are just the icing on the cake as fe...more
Greer Noble
A book every parent should read.. be warned, it's not just drugs you have to be concerned about!
An excellent 'window' into what is alleged to be a cult, so perfectly exposed in this non-fiction book. Their attempt at 'reform' is still wide open to abuse and a lot of 'hot-air' as far as I'm concerned, to try to gloss over their already tarnished reputation. They're also alleged to have amassed a fortune, their main objective apparently, eg they're reputed to be buying up castles all over Europe...more
Aaron the Pink Donut
I loved this book. Before I read this book I thought the Hare Krishna’s only sang, danced, hung out with George Harrison, and sold stuff at the airport! This book shows in all its sensational detail the dark yucky underbelly of the movement. Chronicling what started in the early 60’s as a reasonably pure religious movement spear head by one man (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) that became a multi-nation multi-million dollar organization run by power-hungry maladjusted scumbags. A really fa...more
Michael Hildrum
Ehh, it was okay. It reminded me of "Under the Banner of Heaven" in that it recounts the founding (or spreading to America) of a religion that is kind of wacky and cult-like. It was written way before Banner, but I read that first. Also like Banner, it focuses on the juicy stuff. The corruption, and beatings, the murders, which gives the book an obvious slant. I am not an expert on Krishnas (or Fundamentalist Mormons) but I doubt as a group they are all that bad of people. It was interesting how...more
Raven
These were mad times in the Hare Krishna community. Kirtananda was a pretty mad fellow and since very beginning of his joining to the community he was deviating, and not following the instructions of his guru Prabhupada. The New Vrindavan community was his own project, not the Prabhupadas. After Prabhupada rejected him, Kirtananda wanted to start his own movement and he purchased that property in the west Virginia. But no followers he could get. Later on he asked Prabhupada if he could join agai...more
Jeffrey Buller
I tend to be suspicious of reviews that say the reader "couldn't put it down," but that's largely how I felt about this book. I began reading it as part of my recent interest in religious cults (see other reviews) and wanted to find out what non-Krishnas had said about the cultish aspects of the Hare Krishna movement. Monkey on a Stick does that, but it's so much more fascinating than the 99th book on Scientology or the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. To begin with, it presents an intriguing a...more
Rama
The ISKCON revolution and the mysteries of New Vrindaban

Many readers think that this book is all about the illegal activities that occurred in 1980s at New Vrindaban in Moundsville, WV: But the authors also dedicate significant part of their discussion on the birth and growth of Hare Krishna movement in the United States.

In 1966, both Keith Ham (Kirtananada) and Howard Wheeler (Hayagriva Dasa) were in graduate school with bright future. Howard Wheeler later became a faculty member at the Ohio S...more
Jason
One of my favourite books, period. The true story of the rise and fall of the Hare Krishna movement in North America. I'm fond of telling people that it's like Goodfellas but with Hare Krishnas instead of Italians.

One of the many things I love about this book is the "Section" recommendation for bookstore owners on the back cover. It says to file it under "Religion/True Crime". Perfect.
Reade
I read this back in the day, while I was with VicPol...a good read. As good as any underworld or mafia novel. I remember when I was a child watching and hearing the dancers in Swanson st...now my favourite communal eat is at crossways! Lucky for us the food is vegetarian...no use for the meat grinders that usually appear in crime novels!
an idea for the next edition of underbelly...
Jane
Chilling! Though billed as an anti-cult book, it is less that as more of an indictment of the leadership of Kirtananda (one of the Iskcon Gurus) and how he was allowed to go so far astray that it lead to murder.
K.
I just randomly picked this up from the library one day. It was...a pretty good book. It showed how crazy the Hare Krishna movement was, and how it became this huge cult, but I think it lost me somewhere along the way.
Jake
Dec 17, 2008 Jake is currently reading it
Sober reporting on the Hare Krishna movement that tries hard to uncover the search for spiritual truth amidst all the scandal, without censoring or glossing over the sensational bits.
Jacki
Shocking true account of the Hare Krishna movement that began in the 60's. Power, greed, drugs, and corruption took control of a religion and it spiraled out of control.
Teryl
They were lost. The original Swami seems to have been an innocent who had no idea that he was gathering psychotics among his devotees.
Jack
Great history of the sixties east meets west. An extreme example of the disintegration of some type of idealism cum fascism.
Vicki
Gives an intriguing peak into the world of Hare Krishna communes. I am naturally fascinated by American-born religions.
Jean Darroch
The book jumped around to much for me so it was confusing in parts to me.however some chapters were really good.
Judy
Interesting to know that Montreal is Headquarters #2 and that the Hare Krishnas are very sexists.
Jane Anne
I truly enjoyed this. While reading this, I confess developing a crush on Hansadutta!
Sarah Fisher
Tip when reading this book: make a list of characters with their original and HK names.
Brian
Hard to believe that this story of the Krishna's is true, it reads like a gripping novel.
Kathy Kaylor
This has to be true because no one could make this stuff up.
Kimberle Menardi
was an interesting and easy read.
Amanda Conway
This book was well written, informative, researched, appeared unbiased, and I really appreciated the name index! With all of the names to keep track of, I thought the authors did a kick ass job of making this 400+ pg book easy to follow and I only came across a handful of typos.

Awesome book! I loved it!
Wendy Davis
This story is fascinating, but the book is not well written and sometimes hard to follow.
Joan Kite
A great story about the road paved with good intentions and where it can take you. Anyone interested in spiritual community should read this book. You've been warned.
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