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Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator Hardcover – September 21, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
What was most startling to me was that until very recently in human history--a few decades ago--we didn't know.
The more I learned, the hungrier I got to learn more. How interesting that so much of it amounts to listening.
I had previously learned a great deal about hostage negotiators researching my book COLUMBINE. (The head of the FBI investigation in that case, Dr. Dwayne Fuselier, was a leading negotiator and I spent a great deal of time with him.) Fuselier spoke very highly of Gary Noesner, so I was curious.
I expected to skim through much it, but found myself hanging on every word. There is a great deal to learn here, and it was just as interesting to watch the story of how difficult it was to teach the FBI these ideas. Individuals picked them up rather easily, but making the institution embrace them was a bigger challenge.
My biggest surprise, though, was what a natural storyteller Noesner turned out to be. He has the easy style and readability of a lifelong novelist. It was a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read.
There are firsthand accounts of some of the major hostage Incidents of modern times - in particular Waco and Ruby Ridge - which add to the historical record. But the tone throughout the incident stories is very much "just the facts ma'am" -- by which I mean that the stories are not played up for emotion, or even for drama. The amazing thing the author has done is to make "head FBI hostage negotiator" come across as - well - just another corporate job.
The main point that comes across from this book is the deep philosophical division within the FBI - and presumably, across the law enforcement community - between those who favor negotiation as a way to end hostage situations, and those who want to go In with guns blazing. The author is a passionate advocate of the negotiation approach, sometimes in support of tactical action, often as a solution in itself. He cites a number of examples where his advice was not followed, and he complains about the shortsightedness of his bosses in Washington and in various field situations.
What was most surprising, and frankly scary, about this book is how little science, or even modern management practice, appears to be involved in making such critical life-and-death policy decisions. The author refers to 2-week training courses for example as the entry into hostage negotiation; it takes 6 months to become a massage therapist, and 3 or 4 years to become a firefighter. And his arguments about the best approach to various situations are based on his experience, which is considerable, but he doesn't offer data to support his conclusions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Crisis Negotiation is a fairly new tool for law enforcement, and this book is a fascinating read. Gary Noesner was instrumental in the development of the most effective tools to... Read morePublished 6 hours ago by DeeArr1
I really enjoyed this book. The wisdom of the author seems to be an increasingly rare thing. I pray that our law enforcement agencies continue to make use of men and women with the... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Ron Woods
A nuanced approach to balancing negotiation with a tactical response in force. More than a carrot or stick approach, this book talks about real life instances of parallel... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Dr. David Farrar
Few people in life know what they want to do from an early age. The author was one of those people and pursued his dream of joining the FBI. Read morePublished 5 days ago by SKaye
Several times while reading this book, I paused and said to myself, "How amazing." The storytelling is concise and vivid, and this is highly informative for people curious... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I was a Captain in the South African Police and also a trained Hostage Negotiator. I had the privilege to meet the author Gary Noesner and consider him as a true mentor in the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Louis
Excellent read! You will not be disappointed. This book is an absolute must read for anyone who desires truth and honesty . Mr. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paul B.