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Download The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival, by Stanley N. Alpert Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (389 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stanley N. Alpert Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781455195787
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On January 21, 1998, the night before his thirty-eighth birthday, federal prosecutor Stanley Alpert was kidnapped by a car full of gun-toting thugs. Hoping to make a large withdrawal with his ATM card, they took him, blindfolded, to a Brooklyn apartment, and improvised. All night, his captors alternately held guns to his head, threatened his family, engaged him in discussions of “gangsta” philosophy, sought his legal advice, and even offered him sexual favors from their prostitute girlfriends as a “birthday present.” As Alpert talked with them, played on their attitudes and fears, and memorized every detail he could, his law-enforcement colleagues launched a major police and FBI investigation that would take many strange twists and turns. Filled with immediacy, drama, and extraordinary characters, The Birthday Party reads like a thriller—but every word is true.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Alpert’s memoir is] well served by his litigator’s sense for dramatic pacing and telling detail. And throughout, Alpert wins over the reader the same way he did the kidnappers, with the force of his canny, self-assured, big-hearted personality.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] harrowing, often hilarious reconstruction of what should have been a garden-variety New York street crime…Precisely how this nebbishy Brooklyn boy, partial to peach-flavored Snapple iced tea and chocolate chip cookies, induced reverse Stockholm syndrome and maneuvered his way to freedom makes The Birthday Party one of the most exhilarating, improbable New York stories ever told.”

    New York Times

  • “Reading The Birthday Party is like watching a slow-motion train wreck—difficult to look at, but impossible to turn away from…The Birthday Party is a good read, but it is also an object lesson. We all need to pay attention to it.”

    Newsday

  • “Harrowing…Alpert delivers an unflinching look at the humiliating, terrifying role of the victim, lacing his plight with commentary on contemporary crime and the creaking judicial system. The second part reads as compellingly as the first and with every bit as much suspense. An effective, one-two punch of a memoir.”

    Booklist

  • “Tartly written…An honest, vivid chronicle of the suspenseful event.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Practically a textbook outlining how to behave in a similar situation. Stark and honest.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 2/17/2014

    " Great book and difficult to put down, reflecting the author's ability to keep the reader in suspense, with the constant reminder that our lives can change in a matter of seconds and how we react or not react to that change, can make the difference between life or death. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle | 2/16/2014

    " I could barely make it to page 60. I wanted to know what happened but I just didn't want to read from this guy's point of view. The writing is very forced and self-indulgent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 2/16/2014

    " From a quick glance at the reviews posted here, I see that this book elicits quite a range of opinions. I read it over a year ago and remember thoroughly enjoying it. It intrigued me that Mr Alpert was able to keep his wits about him when kidnapped by such thugs, and I felt his insights into what might either please or offend them unusually perceptive. His powers of observation served him well throughout and proved invaluable to solving the crime. In addition, the unusual reaction of law enforcement personnel when he was finally rescued as well as a business owner's refusal to let him use the phone to summon help was vividly portrayed. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mandy Brazee | 2/12/2014

    " This is the true story of a U.S. Attorney's birthday. He was kidnapped as he walked home the night before his birthday. The thieves decided to keep him longer once they realized how much was in his bank account. He was able to keep himself alive due to instincts he honed as a prosecutor. His friends finally started looking for him when he didn't show up for his birthday party. This book was amazing. I read in in two days. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greta | 2/11/2014

    " Definitely a change of pace from my usual reading. Seedier people, rougher language, but a fascinating account of a fella kidnapped by some pretty dangerous gang members. A great book about facing adversity and keeping your wits about you to survive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stitchywoman | 2/8/2014

    " This was a funny but, at the same time, tragic story. A scary story but also a good lesson on surviving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 2/5/2014

    " An example of truth being stranger then fiction. What a wild ride this book is. I am amazed the autor survived his kidnapping that this book is about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 alexis | 1/31/2014

    " Really amazing story of a AUSA held hostage for over 24 hours by three guys in Brookyln. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 1/19/2014

    " This book met & surpassed my expectations. The author isn't even a writer, but he tells this story of what happened on his birthday, when he was kidnapped, so well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn Alpers | 1/17/2014

    " This is a true story written by real life accounts, police reports and the testimony of friends. A good read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy (Thoughts of Joy) | 12/7/2013

    " You can read my thoughts here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michaela Harris | 11/10/2013

    " I vaguely remember reading about this incident when it happened, but it was quickly overshadowed by Monica Lewinsky's dress. This was a fascinating inside view of a kidnapping with a happy (?) ending. It is well-written and a great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee | 9/26/2013

    " The day before the author's 38th birthday, he was kidnapped by a gang in mid town Manhattan. This is an iteresting story of his account. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel Nobel Fields | 7/6/2013

    " Alpert, a federal prosecutor, endured being kidnapped and held for 25 hours, but he is no writer. And his suggestion that after his release from his 1-day ordeal he looked like a "concentration camp survivor" was downright offensive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 6/3/2013

    " This dude gets kidnapped off the streets of New York on his birthday by a group of loadie street thugs, and it's amazing all the details he documents and how he interacts with the kidnappers to stay alive. One of the better "it happened to me" books I've read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 5/14/2013

    " I liked it enough to finish, but it didn't keep me up turning the pages either. I know he is a smart guy, but he likes himself too much and that comes across, in my mind, arrogantly. Wonder where the guys who kidnapped him are today as their sentences should be finished. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michele | 3/1/2013

    " While the story was compelling, Alpert would have been better off hiring a ghost writer. It was very badly written, and he spends a good amount of time talking about how important and righteous he is an environmental prosecutor. His language is just laughable, too, though not in a good way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarabeth | 4/22/2012

    " Loved it, very funny also, couldn't put it down "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kid | 3/1/2012

    " This was a below average distraction about a single guy in his late 30s who was kidnapped on his birthday. True story. DON'T buy the shit but if you are looking for vicarious thrills its not bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 9/5/2011

    " Here's the (true) story of a U.S. district attorney kidnapped by a young street gang. He uses his wits to get out unscathed and capture the bad guys. A real page turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bradley | 1/12/2011

    " This book is too crazy to believe. It's the memoir of an assistant US district attorney and his kidnapping ordeal the night before his birthday. I've had some crappy birthdays over the years but after reading this I'll never complain again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 10/28/2010

    " Clearly I'm obsessed with crime and this book played right into that. It is not written with the greatest narrative, but a fascinating story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 10/4/2010

    " Funny but scary true story about a group of thugs who kidnap and rob a guy off the street. They have no idea that he's a U.S. Attorney. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Heather | 5/20/2010

    " I'm sure Stanley Alpert is a fine lawyer. He should remain in the courtroom, rather than try his hand at creative non-fiction. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 4/1/2010

    " I couldn't put this book down. "

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