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

John Hubner, Author, Lindsey Gruson, With Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (414p) ISBN 978-0-15-162086-9
This shocking expose by the journalist coauthors will disabuse readers that the Hare Krishna sect is exclusively a group of religious devotees. The movement began with the arrival in the United States in 1966 of Swami Prabhupada, who established himself as a charismatic teacher and as quickly attracted numerous disciples, one of whom was Keith Ham, a Columbia University graduate student who was given the Hindu name of Kirtanananda. As the movement grew, the founder appointed a group of regional leaders, Kirtanananda among them, who exercised almost unlimited power over the sect's adherents, many of them psychologically damaged people, according to the authors. Nationwide, some members financed the sect by selling drugs and soliciting money for nonexistent charities. Kirtanananda founded a colony called New Vrindaban in West Virginia, where wife-beating, child sexual abuse, rape and even murder took place. The authors document their charges from interviews with Hare Krishna defectors and police and court records, and the cumulative effect is chilling. 50,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-451-40187-8
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