Maeg’s View Book Review: Stalling For Time: My Life As An FBI Hostage Negotiator by Gary Noesner

Welcome back to our 5th book for Maeg’s View Book Review! This one was a good one as this is totally up my alley of books I like to read. It sounds bad but I love a good true story with some wins and losses so when I saw this book I thought it would be so interesting (plus I’m currently on a Criminal Minds binge on Disney+). Lets dive in!

“In Stalling for Time, the FBI’s chief hostage negotiator takes readers 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.”


What was your favourite part of the book?

I’d have to say my favourite part is learning what hostage negotiators do all while reading about the true stories that we’ve heard or watch on tv. This book has a lot of detail about those events and what went wrong.

Did you race to the end, or was it more of a slow burn?

At the begin it was a slow burn but once you get into the events that you know and heard about you want to keep reading and he keeps you engaged.

Which scene has stuck with you the most?

The scene that stuck with me the most would have to be the Waco situation; I knew about it but I didn’t know how things went so wrong. In this book he explains how most hostage negotiations are set up but he also talks about the other half with tactical waiting to go in all while they’re trying to stop a big mess from happening. As we know shit hit the fan with this situation and he explains why, which create tension and makes his job harder in the long run.

Are there any areas you wished the author had elaborated upon further?

Yes, in the book he obviously talks about his life and career up to these points and about the events but I also wish he made a chapter teaching about negotiations. Throughout the book you get some information but it’s mostly “it takes practice” which I completely agree with but also reading about what to say or not to say, your body language, your tone and training your body to be calm in crazy situations would be interesting as well.

Did this book make you want to explore the subject matter more?

I think it did. I made me look further into the situations he talked about and not to mention, as I said I’ve been binging Criminal Minds, one episode came on which made me think to myself that this sounds very familiar. I looked up what the episode was based on and it was based on some of the events he talks about in the book. It blew my mind as I had just read his book and now, I’m seeing it based on the show. I also think more people should read this to learn more about staying calm in situations, as I said it’s not blunt information about how to negotiate but there’s still educational bits in there that we could use in our everyday lives.

Well that’s all for Stalling For Time! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book before and what you thought!

Thanks for reading,


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