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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 inspired the miniseries Waco, now on Netflix.

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

What the critics say

"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 listeners say about Stalling for Time

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Very interesting

Having watched Waco, I decided to listen to Noesner talk about his career. it was fascinating.

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  • M B
  • 2020-10-10

Excellent

This is an excellent book. I don’t necessarily agree with everything Mr. Noesner has said but probably 99%. Hi hope everyone in law-enforcement and government read this book. Talk first. Violence should be the absolute last resort.

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Outstanding

Every hostage/crisis negotiator should read this book. One of the best I’ve read on the topic.

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Exciting insight to growing world within a world

Having Noesner as the narrator adds dramatic value - his voice carries an exciting edge as well as candor.

His story is really quite fascinating, especially when he describes the consistent struggles of the negotiation within the negotiation.

Great look into institutional change (or lack thereof) and how important the principles of strong negotiation can be in times of crises.

Only reason I don't give a full 5 stars is because I would have liked to see a more structured approach for real world examples pulled out of the lessons in the story. Highly recommend if you've gotten as far as looking at reviews.

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Fantastic

I was very inspired with Gary Noesner's view of how important it is to reach a solution to a crime or problem with non-violent means.

I enjoyed Gary's narration. He is able to fully give you a picture of each situation through his eyes. I also enjoy that each time a situation happens that Gary is involved in negotiating, he also offers a bigger picture of the situation and it's impact on the FBI and negotiating teams.

I think this book is also great for anyone who is interested in crime. Gary was involved in some very high profile crimes involving all types of people, from members of a religious group to terrorist groups.

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Waiting

Hurry up and wait. I was hoping that there was more than putting your toddler in the corner and waiting until it calmed down.
Gary has a nice voice to listen to.

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  • Dave Nicar
  • 2020-04-27

talk about drinking the Kool-aid!

First, I did like the author/narrator's voice, it was performed well. However, I didn't get through his account of events surrounding the Waco siege.
He kept referring to David Koresh as the "sinful messiah", which I found disrespectful to the dead that innocently believed in Koresh' teachings. After watching the most recent Waco dramatization. and listening to David Thibideau's audiobook, the author continually disparaged, and took cheap shots at the Branch Davidians, even continuing to refer to "Mt. Carmel", as the Davidians called it, as "Ranch Apocalypse".
The issue with the Waco siege was not Koresh' alleged child abuse, but should have been the atrocities/overeach of the FBI, the ATF, and the HRT.
The author seemed to automatically accept the disgruntled former members' account of Koresh' foibles. I'm in no way a fan of David Koresh, nor do I find him innocent, not by a long shot, but the bloodlust of the FBI, after having lost agents in an unwarranted attack on dozens of women and children was all too obvious in the aftermath of the initial attack on the Davidians.
In my opinion, if you want a true account of what happened in Waco, listen to David Thibodeau's book.

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  • Kevin D Brown
  • 2018-03-13

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.

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  • shane stark
  • 2018-01-11

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.

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  • Ryan Palmer
  • 2018-03-03

Outstanding

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

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  • Derek Wills
  • 2020-06-09

Not what I thought.

I got this book after reading David Thibadeau's book, and watching the series on Netflix. While this book was good, it wasn't what I expected. Very little was about Waco, and I guess I should've expected that. It is about Mr. Noesner's career as a whole, and I had hoped it would've had a focus on Waco. Good book about his exploits as an FBI negotiator.

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  • FAL
  • 2018-01-28

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!

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  • Chris D. Stevenson
  • 2021-02-09

Informative

After watching the Waco miniseries on Netflix, I was curious about the boots-on-ground perspective from both the FBI and from the Branch Davidians. Special Agent Seosner does a remarkable job about staying facts from his perspective, while also acknowledging how they could've approached it better.

He also detailed other sensitive cases he was involved with such as Talladega and Ruby Ridge. An informative and interesting read.

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

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.

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  • Ibrahim A.
  • 2021-02-20

Good story and lessons, but audio was distracting

the overall presentation was a good way to deliver a non-violent approach to terrorism. But often the audio kept cutting between the speaker's active and passive voice which was distracting

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  • Eugene Theriot
  • 2021-02-12

Thought Provoking, enlightening, riveting.

This book is totally worth the listen. I love that it’s read by the author. It has amazing stories from his experiences and lessons we can all take from his, and the FBIs, failures and successes.

1 person found this helpful