Dave Cullen's Reviews > Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator

Stalling for Time by Gary Noesner
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Sep 27, 10

Read in June, 2010

This was only the second book I've ever blurbed. I was very impressed. My review:

This was such a rewarding book. I've always been fascinated by that very basic question: when someone is disturbed and irrational enough to actually pick up a gun and take hostages, how on earth do you talk him down?

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.
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message 2: by jv (new) - rated it 5 stars

jv poore I just finished this book, and loved it. I thought it comparable to your Columbine in that it was honest, heartfelt and diplomatic. Because of the similarities in the presentation of both stories, as well as how I felt reading both books, I was just about to recommend this book to you....then I thought to check your listings, and not only did you beat me to it, but your review is much more eloquent than mine.


message 1: by Vicki (new) - added it

Vicki G In the case of the guy in Waco, it seems like it DIDN'T work. He killed everybody in the compound.
My former pastor did a service on that topic once and called the guy a liar. He said if the people who followed him had done more research on their own they would have discovered he wasn't a prophet but a liar and they'd be alive right now.
It was the first time I ever heard a pastor come out and call a person a liar. They usually use gentler speech.


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