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The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survivalby Stanley N. Alpert
Synopses & Reviews
On January 21, 1998, the night before his 38th birthday, federal prosecutor Stanley Alpert was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan. This is the story of what happened next...
Alpert was taken by a carful of gun-toting thugs looking to use his ATM card, but when they learned his bank balance, the plan changed. They took him, blindfolded by his own scarf, to a Brooklyn apartment, with the idea of going to a bank the next day and withdrawing most of it. But the later it got, the more the plan changed again...and again...as his captors alternately held guns to his head, threatened his family, engaged him in discussions of gangsta philosophy, sought his legal advice and, once they learned it was his birthday, offered him sexual favors from their girlfriends as a "birthday present". All the while, Alpert, still blindfolded, talked with them, played on their attitudes and fears, tried to figure out where their mood swings would take them next, and memorized every detail he could in the event he ever managed to get out of there alive.
In the meantime, his friends and law enforcement colleagues, worried that they hadn't heard from him, launched a major police and FBI investigation. It, too, would take many twists and turns before it was done — and some of them would be very strange indeed.
Filled with immediacy, drama and extraordinary characters, told not only from Alpert's memory and notes, but from police reports; interviews with NYPD detectives, FBI agents and witnesses; videotaped confessions; and court records, The Birthday Party reads like a thriller — but every word is true.
"In this tartly written memoir recalling his 1998 kidnapping, Alpert, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, describes his abduction and release, and the subsequent trial of the kidnappers, with an impressive amount of detail and only the occasional note of self-congratulation for how he handled the ordeal. On the night before his 38th birthday, Alpert was forced at gunpoint into a car near his Greenwich Village apartment, blindfolded, made to relinquish his ATM and PIN, and driven to Brooklyn, where he was kept in an apartment full of oddly personable, gun-wielding youths and teenage prostitutes. In between violent threats, the criminals solicited legal advice concerning past crimes and offered him pot and sexual favors in honor of his birthday. After 25 hours, they handed their hostage $20 cab money and left him in Prospect Park. Though the second part of the account, detailing the mechanics of the arrests and sentencing of the perpetrators, along with Alpert's return to normalcy, is relatively dry and slow, Alpert delivers an honest, vivid chronicle of the suspenseful event itself in the memoir's first half." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The Birthday Party is Mr. Alpert's harrowing, often hilarious reconstruction of what should have been a garden-variety New York street crime....
"This is practically a textbook outlining how to behave in a similar situation. Stark and honest." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
On January 21, 1998, federal environmental prosecutor Stanley Alpert was grabbed on the street near his home and forced into a car at gunpoint. In this memoir, he recounts how he managed to keep his wits about him during the 25 hours that he was held by a gang of violent thugs bent on cleaning out his savings account. He describes how his captors alternated between such extremes as threatening to kill him and offering him the services of their prostitute girlfriends. He also explains how his careful memorization of details throughout his ordeal led to the eventual arrest and conviction of the kidnappers. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
On January 21, 1998, the night before his thirty-eighth birthday, federal prosecutor Stanley N. Alpert was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan by a car full of gun-toting thugs looking to use his ATM card. He ended up blindfolded in a Brooklyn apartment as his captors changed their plans, alternately threatening him and his family, seeking legal advice, expounding on the "gangsta" life, and offering him the services of their prostitute girlfriends as a birthday present. All the while, Alpert, still blindfolded, talked with them, played on their attitudes and fears, and memorized every detail he could in the event that he ever managed to get out of there alive.
Filled with immediacy, drama, and extraordinary characters, The Birthday Party reads like a thriller-but every word is true.
On January 21, 1998, the night before his 38th birthday, federal prosecutor Alpert was kidnapped off the streets of Manhattan by a car full of gun-toting RgangstaS thugs. Here he offers a remarkable account of his kidnapping and the psychological duel and investigation that followed.
About the Author
Stanley N. Alpert served for thirteen years with the U.S. Department of Justice as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he was chief of environmental litigation. There, Alpert investigated, prosecuted, or supervised many complex civil and criminal cases, some resulting in multimillion-dollar awards.
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