Topgun: An American Story

On the 50th anniversary of the creation of the "Topgun" Navy Fighter School, its founder shares the remarkable inside story of how he and eight other risk-takers revolutionized the art of aerial combat.

When American fighter jets were being downed at an unprecedented rate during the Vietnam War, the U.S. Navy turned to a young lieutenant commander, Dan Pedersen, to figure out a way to reverse their dark fortune. On a shoestring budget and with little support, Pedersen picked eight of the finest pilots to help train a new generation to bend jets like the F-4 Phantom to their will and learn how to dogfight all over again.

What resulted was nothing short of a revolution-one that took young American pilots from the crucible of combat training in the California desert to the blistering skies of Vietnam, in the process raising America's Navy combat kill ratio from two enemy planes downed for every American plane lost to more than 22 to 1. Topgun emerged not only as an icon of America's military dominance immortalized by Hollywood but as a vital institution that would shape the nation's military strategy for generations to come.

Pedersen takes readers on a colorful and thrilling ride-from Miramar to Area 51 to the decks of aircraft carriers in war and peace-through a historic moment in air warfare. He helped establish a legacy that was built by him and his "Original Eight" -- the best of the best -- and carried on for six decades by some of America's greatest leaders. Topgun is a heartfelt and personal testimonial to patriotism, sacrifice, and American innovation and daring.

My Review

As a fan of aviation, I am drawn to these types of books. As like many people, I have watched the movie Top Gun more than a couple of times. Yet, when I picked up this book, I was not under the impression that this book would be heavy focused in details about the movie. So, if you are reading this book for that factor, you will be sadly disappointed. No, Mr. Pedersen shares his insight and knowledge of his time in the military as well as how Topgun was formed. Which by the way Mr. Pedersen shares that topgun is one word but the movie executives felt that topgun should be two words as it looked better.

As I stated previously that being a fan of aviation that I found this book to be interesting reading. Mr. Pedersen shares what military life for pilots was really like, not the "Hollywood" version as well as his views on politics but in a way that no one would be offended. This book was quick reading for me. I would recommend checking out this book if you are a fan of aviation or military books.


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