Stalling for Time

My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
Narrated by: Gary Noesner
Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (850 ratings)

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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

Critic Reviews

"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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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.

11 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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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Outstanding

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

3 people found this helpful

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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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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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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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Good read

Overall I liked it. However it's a lacking source for the Waco siege and I would of liked more information on it.

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Couldn’t have found a better read

This book is written so well and Narrated even better. It was written 10 years ago but it seems to be more true today

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great read and insightful into FBI

Loved the book move at a great pace never gets slowed down with minutiae .

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-24-18

great book

loved this book and it was narrated fantastically well too by the author. highly recommend!

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  • Meg1244
  • 10-05-20

Very interesting

Liked it overall but chapter 2 felt a little bit out of place with everything else. I liked the reader and was able to finish this quickly. Overall I am glad I read it.

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  • Wayne O'Brien
  • 09-12-20

Excellent, very interesting.

The author (also narrator), with his account of the genesis and evolution of negotiation tactics, helps erode the fallacy that all American law-enforcers are gung-ho hotheads who engage lethal force at any given opportunity. The seige at Waco - amongst others - is described excellently and it evokes great sympathy for the negotiators who came so close to peacefully defusing the situation and rescuing the 76 vulnerable people that died and great disdain for their bumbling, knuckle-dragging colleagues in the FBI who favoured brute force.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-20

Captivating read, instant recommendation.

The narrator and guy in question did a terrific job of conveying and laying out the thrills and issues when it comes to dealing with high-stakes negotiations. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-16-19

Terrific insight into life of a Negotiator

Fascinating insight into the career of FBI Negotiator Gary Noesner. His dedication to his duties and his development of this law enforcement tool, not only in America but Internationally is truly remarkable. The audiobook format works well as he narrates the book himself and his inflection and tone help illustrate his story. He provides a balanced view and is respectful towards colleagues who adopted differing approaches to situations and allows the outcome to highlight which approach yielded the more desired result. Highly recommend. Kev Toohey- Australia.