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No Heroes: Inside the FBI's Secret Counter-Terror Force Hardcover – March 1, 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After 31 years as an FBI agent and commander, Coulson counts only two of those years as badAthe ones following his involvement with the notorious confrontation with separatist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in which civilians were killed by federal agents. Though Coulson was ultimately cleared of charges of perjury and obstruction, he clearly still feels the sting of the accusations. Much of this memoir takes pains to underscore his deep sense of fair play and respect for human life. Not that this is a sanctimonious tome designed only to sanitize the image of a wronged author. With the deft help of coauthor Shannon, Coulson presents himself over the course of his entire careerAboth good and badAas a motorcycle-riding, hell-raising crime buster who has more than a streak of the wisecracking braggart in him. But he is an immensely likable braggart who tells great stories. There is Coulson chasing cop killers in the incendiary early 1970s; facing off with a hostage-taking bisexual who wants money and airplane transportation for his lover's sex-change operation (immortalized in the film Dog Day Afternoon); working with legendary Delta Force commando Charlie Beckwith to develop the FBI's counter-terror team. Coulson is at his best when recounting the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing and the subsequent hunt for Tim McVeigh, and is especially riveting when detailing the tense negotiations with Weaver. Presenting the right mix of gossip and crime fighting, this engrossing work should quickly move off the shelves.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Those FBI folks keep spilling their secrets. Here, the founder of the agency's Hostage Rescue Team talks about cases spanning his 30-year career.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 593 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671020617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671020613
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I was looking for insights on what really happened at Ruby Ridge, Waco and the Oklahoma City Bombing. I expected a bureaucratic white wash and PR job by another Bureau hack but I was pleasantly disappointed.
The author takes the reader through his long and illustrious career as an FBI agent from the 60�s to the late 90�s battling Black Panthers, bank robbers, white supremacists and the other scum and villainy of American society. Following the disastrous terrorist attack at the �72 Olympics where Palestinian terrorists killed several Israeli athletes the author got the idea that the Bureau needed a trained counter terrorist team to deal with this kind of thing in the US. He goes on to found the famous (infamous) Hostage Rescue Team that would later play a very prominent role in the Ruby Ridge and Waco disasters.
The author comes across as a very sincere, honest and upstanding man of outstanding character despite a touch of arrogance and a rough macho exterior. He is quick to admit his own mistakes and, surprisingly, those of the Bureau itself. He pulls no punches against the bad guys or his own people. His dry sense of humor and his quick wit defy the stereotypes of FBI agents as stuffy, humorless bureaucrats. The author admits that these figures do indeed exist but he distances himself from this kind of agent.
Regarding the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents I found the author slipping back into the good-ol-boy mode in the way that he so easily justified the actions that went on there. He was quick to admit that things could have been done better and that mistakes were made but he stops short of saying that the Bureau was out of control and wrongly cost over eighty people their lives.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read a good portion of this novel (called such because there's some glaring factual problems) and decided I didn't want to finish it after reading the section on Ruby Ridge. The author goes to great lenghts to defend himself and the FBI sniper. Unfortunately, the sniper's own post shooting log shows that when he fired at Mrs. Weaver, he was aiming directly at her, not leading the target like he claimed. I would have had more respect for the author is he hadn't tried to whitewash the incident.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading this book. This book shows that the FBI, like any other profession, is made up of the strong, the average, and the weak. This book provided an inside look at the tactics the FBI uses to "strongly urge" suspects to incriminate themselves in interviews, including trickery. I especially enjoyed the last chapters where the spineless Freeh and Reno, et al, tried the same tactics on Coulson, in spite of his years of leadership and service. I would like to say I was shocked at the conversation between Freeh and Coulson when Coulson was informed of his suspension. It looks like Danny's eyes were opened as to the real power and mission of the FBI. This reminded me of a school of sharks smelling blood trickling from one of its members. ...The feeding frenzy began. Danny, let's leave law enforcement to the States. (You would have been a great Texas Ranger) This book confirms the notion that when you nationalize a police force, & you depend on politics for funding, you invariable must call press conferences to "inform" (exaggerate, and downright lie to) the public of your accomplishments NO MATTER WHO GETS HURT OR WHOSE CAREER IS DESTROYED. This book shows that the FBI is a political machine first and foremost. It is made up of professionals seeking career advancement. Danny convincingly points out that the rank and file members are basically hard working men/women; however, as Danny says in the book, in any organization this large, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is an interesting juxtaposition apparent in this book. Coulson, a career FBI agent and one time SAC (Special Agent in Charge) of three Bureau regional offices, plays himself against an overwhelmingly bureaucratic and politically sensitive FBI. Coulson's view is at once an outsider and, at the same time, an insider in most of the major and politically sensitive episodes in the Bureau's last twenty-plus years. The author appears to hold particular disdain for the politcally astute Bureau culture that, at times, seems to only be concerned with it's decisions after they have already taken their toll (reference the railroading of the author for his role in the Ruby Ridge episode several YEARS after the events unfolded). What is interesting is that Coulson almost certainly had to play into some of that political mindset to achieve his various supervisory roles. It is without question that Coulson played by the rules. But he played his cards. His furry regarding the inquisition against him is understandable; to this much he admits. The Bureau's headhunt infected his faith in the FBI and, more importantly, the Justice Department hierarchy. It brought with it a disappointing and trying end to an otherwise stellar and unblemished career. And, perhaps most disturbing it made he and his family the unfortunate target of baseless death threats.
No Heroes is not without some minor stylistic flaws but it excels at what it is intended to do: to highlight the everyday heroes of the FBI who selflessly pursue the most base of society's detritus while managing against many odds to maintain honor and follow the FBI's respect worthy code: Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity.
Coulson's book reserves disdain for the most heinous in our society and the occasional career bureaucrat.
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