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Stalling for Time

My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
Narrated by: Gary Noesner
Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The FBI's chief hostage negotiator recounts harrowing standoffs, including the Waco siege with David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, in a memoir that serves as a basis for the upcoming series Waco.

In Stalling for Time, the FBI's chief hostage negotiator takes listeners on a harrowing tour through many of the most famous hostage crises in the history of the modern FBI, including the siege at Waco, the Montana Freemen standoff, and the D.C. sniper attacks. Having helped develop the FBI's nonviolent communication techniques for achieving peaceful outcomes in tense situations, Gary Noesner offers a candid, fascinating look back at his years as an innovator in the ranks of the Bureau and a pioneer on the front lines.

Whether vividly recounting showdowns with the radical Republic of Texas militia or clashes with colleagues and superiors that expose the internal politics of America's premier law enforcement agency, Stalling for Time crackles with insight and breathtaking suspense. Case by case, minute by minute, it's a behind-the-scenes view of a visionary crime fighter in action.

©2010 Gary Noesner (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Riveting…the most in-depth and absorbing section is devoted to the 1993 siege near Waco, Texas." ( The Washington Post)
"Captivating...an electrifying read...No Hollywood movie can top this story for thrills, suspense, or action." ( New York Journal of Books)
"Certain to fascinate true crime readers...The compelling centerpiece of the book is Noesner's analysis of 'what went wrong at Waco' with the Branch Davidians." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • shane stark
  • 11-01-2018

Top Notch

Mr. Noesner's narration is second to none. His voice is soothing and consistent. No wonder he had such a successful career as a negotiator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin D Brown
  • 13-03-2018

Interesting but lacking

I had hoped for more details about the negotiation process itself, and I would have liked to have heard about more real world examples. My biggest complaint is that the author sounded a little self-indulgent at times. Overall I would say it was interesting and worth the time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan Palmer
  • 03-03-2018

Outstanding

the inside the author provides is amazing this book is worth a listen or read

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • FAL
  • 28-01-2018

Gary rocks

An incredible glimpse into a life journey that has culminated in a unique skill set and perspective about the necessity of using communication skills to save human lives. Gary has laid out several examples of how these skills, in conjunction with tactical support at times, minimize the loss of life and preserve the dignity of those involved. Some examples underscore how ignoring the importance of maintaining a dialogue with perpetrators have gone sadly awry. Another important theme emerges, that of careful coordination among all responders is paramount. Such a
skill set has implications beyond major events, but is useful in many settings including health care. I applaud Gary for baring his soul, risking the displeasure of colleagues and illustrating the importance of what his life’s work, his passion, has accomplished. Kudos, my friend!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MELANIE (or Tom) LUX
  • 28-08-2018

Great listen!

Each chapter is a vignette of a case Gary played a role in or exemplifies tactics and strategies he seeks to explain in the book.
The book is captivating, entertaining, and is for everyone...all of life can be seen as negotiation.
Having Gary read the book is an added bonus.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Fulmer
  • 08-12-2018

Insight into FBI Negotiators

This book offered an excellent insight into many of the events involving the FBI. Ruby Ridge, Waco and the Montana Freeman are all explained in detail. I learned a lot about the behind the scenes politics at Waco. The narrator could be a bit dry at times but the stories were compelling.

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  • LookoutSF
  • 04-12-2018

More than a story about hostage negotiation

This book is not just a memoir of being a hostage negotiator, it also talks about the development of the field, how the author, and the FBI, learned from their mistakes. We see some of the inside stories on WACO and IDAHO, and some of the mistakes that were made.

Any institutional change typically faces opposition within the organization. In this case, there is opposition between the negotiators, whose goal is to get people out alive, and other forces, that wish to make a definitive statement. At the same time, the author acknowledges the need for the strike forces, as there are times when the hostage-taker will not negotiate.

Overall, very interesting and it also gave some "inside story" to certain recent events that cannot be learned from news accounts.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-09-2018

Fascinating and thought provoking

This brought back things I recall hearing in the news, only with behind-the-scenes detail. I recommend this book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-09-2018

great book

wonderful and finished in one day it was so captivating.
would recommend to anyone looking to enter crisis negotiation.

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  • karae
  • 06-08-2018

Great stories kept me wanting more

The authors telling of his experiences and take-aways as an FBI negotiator at landmark events in places like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Jordan, MT left me wishing the book were longer or had a sequel - but in a good way. I wanted more stories. Since the author himself does the reading, its like listening to him tell the story rather than read it. You end up wanting to hear about all the other places he's been and times he's used his knowledge and skill to talk someone down from the end of their crazy-chain.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-03-2018

great book

loved this book and it was narrated fantastically well too by the author. highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful