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Facing Down Evil Hardcover – September 7, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Van Zandt, an early FBI specialist in hostage negotiation, shuns the fireworks his fictional Hollywood counterparts can't seem to avoid, yet veteran ghostwriter Paisner (Citizen Koch) has successfully converted his reminiscences into a surprisingly entertaining series of anecdotes. Despite the absence of gunplay, these nuts-and-bolts descriptions of bank robberies, dramatic prison riots, grotesque scenarios in which the offender yearns to die and exotic hostage dramas in foreign lands make for gripping reading. A standout is 40 pages on the 1985 siege of the Covenant, an armed survivalist cult living on a heavily defended rural Arkansas farm. Few Americans remember the outcome: a hundred men, women and children peacefully surrendered. Van Zandt also relates his autobiography, beginning as a poor youth with divorced parents whose dream was to become a G-man, which required overcoming obstacles such as failing courses in college. He describes himself as a deeply religious born-again Christian who, unlike colleagues, never subordinated family to career but who loves the FBI and America and holds a low opinion of criminals, America's enemies and liberals. This turns out to be charming and does not diminish the value of his stories, which could appeal to readers not normally drawn to such macho adventures. (Sept. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Before retiring from the FBI in 1995, Van Zandt, one of the key figures in the formation of the agency's Hostage Negotiation Program in the 1970s, brought the strategies of negotiation to a host of white-knuckle and high-profile hostage standoffs. In this gripping memoir, he brings readers in on the secrets behind his ability to defuse hostage situations. In casebook format, Van Zandt reviews the great standoffs of his career, including a bank robbery gone sour in Rochester, New York; a weeks-long confrontation with a white supremacist group in Arkansas; a Cuban prisoner rebellion, with staffers held hostage, in Alabama; the kidnapping of corporate executive Michael Barry in Manila; and (briefly) a run-in with the Unabomber and the tragedies of Waco and Oklahoma City. The writing (with the help of coauthor Paisner) is crisp and fast-paced, and Van Zandt's revelations about hostage negotiation tactics and actual encounters are fascinating. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (September 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915308X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399153082
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #916,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Exceptional book and a great read!
P. Law
I got this book for a seminar that I was attending with Clint Van Zandt there.
Stephanie Sherwood
I have great respect for the author's insight and experiences.
Anthony T. Riggio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating look from a different perspective at some of the major FBI incidents spanning a twenty-five year career that ended in retirement in 1995. Clint Van Zandt provides a little background material about his growing up and makes no apologies for being a family man who loves his country and his agency. However, the autobiography takes off with the specific incidents including some overseas especially the more famous ones like the 1985 siege of the Covenant, the 1993 Waco confrontation with the Branch Davidians, the Unabomber, and his paradigm suggestion that Oklahoma City was tied to Waco not the Middle East. This is an excellent autobiography of a dedicated law enforcement official who spent a career FACING DOWN EVIL as it is the behind the scenes look at these cases and more that will grip the audience.

Harriet Klausner
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. James on October 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was actually disapointed in this book. Given the authors background I was hoping for a book that went into some detail into his methods, beliefs and techniques of crisis negotiation. What I got was a very light but enjoyable read that covered his career in the FBI (including his battles with the beaucracy which I felt did not add to the story) and four incidents of crisis negotiating, which had some good basic tips. Waco got a mention - but only to say he will leave it to the next book - rather frustrating.

My recommendation is, if you want a book on techniques, buy one of the others on the market (for example Van Zandt's fellow ex-agent Fred Lanceley's "On Scene Guide for Crisis Negotiators", or even Frank Bolz 'Hostage Cop"), but if you want a good read and an interesting story then this would be a good book to get.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Micah I Palmer on December 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Facing Down Evil" is a legitimate, keenly observed look at the FBI and Hostage Negotiations by one of it's key players. Van Zandt brings a unique perspective of the Bureau to the page. He is real in his emotion and attitude and doesn't play the glory card so many others do in their memoirs. You actually feel as if you walk a mile in his shoes and it is a tough, yet gratifying path. Van Zandt succesfully intertwines stories of his personal life with his carreer and in doing so draws his audience in and keeps them wanting more untill the last page is turned.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Law on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to any one who enjoys a true-to-life FBI drama.

Each chapter told a different edge-of-your seat story about this author's fascinating life as a negotiator/profiler for the FBI.

Exceptional book and a great read!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anthony T. Riggio on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. I have great respect for the author's insight and experiences. His views into hostage psychology were enlightening for me and should be an eye opener for those interested in hostage negotiations. I found this book to be a very fast read and very interesting and while I found parts to be somewhat glib, it is recommended for those interested in the workings of the FBI and those with an interest in what the FBI does and the human feelings experienced in the performance of their difficult duties as FBI Agents.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband and I listened to the audio unabridged version of this book. We would have preferred Mr. VanZant to include the details of more of his cases as an agent or private contractor thereby revealing his personal views relative to the actual negotiations involved, rather than to dwell so much on his personal philosophy, which he endlessly repeated. We felt that his philosophy regarding hostage negotiation would have been revealed just as well and more interestingly if he had gone into specific details of each case.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Diana M. Duquette on January 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I really enjoyed this book and it had many interesting thoughts and details for someone looking to get into the FBI, like myself. However, I felt it layed a little too heavily on his family issues and Christian background. Not that I'm opposed to either, but I had assumed, by the synopsis of the book that the author would go into more detail about high profile cases he had worked on but did the exact opposite. He talked about cases that were probably least known to anyone reading the book. Still, it was a good read but don't pick it up if you expect to read about cases like the Oklahoma City bombing or the Unabomber.
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Format: Hardcover
A Review by Anthony T. Riggio of Clint Van Zant's "Facing Down Evil
I enjoyed this book. I have great respect for the author's insight and experiences. His views into hostage psychology were enlightening for me and should be an eye opener for those interested in hostage negotiations. I found this book to be a very fast read and very interesting and while I found parts to be somewhat glib, it is recommended for those interested in the workings of the FBI and those with an interest in what the FBI does and the human feelings experienced in the performance of their difficult duties as FBI Agents.
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