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Topgun

An American Story
Narrated by: Jim Meskimen
Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

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 US 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 listeners 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Dan Pedersen (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"If an institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man, then the history of modern naval aviation might well be described as the lengthened shadow of Dan Pedersen. Here, in direct, vivid, and unvarnished prose, is the high-flying, supersonic tale of the Topgun program and its extraordinary founder. Through it all, Pedersen's innovative spirit, as well as his essential modesty, shines through." (Hampton Sides, New York Times best-selling author Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground)

"A superb read...Dan Pedersen's Topgun is a riveting, seat-of-the-pants flight into the lethal world of the fighter pilot told by the man who started it all!" (Dan Hampton, New York Times best-selling author of Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky)

"With the hot-seat velocity and cockpit realism of a military combat thriller, the author delivers exacting details and emotional acuity....A noble, thrillingly realized combat aviation memoir from one of America's finest." (Kirkus Reviews)

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Bravo Zulu!

Has all the elements of a great story and is read with care and attention - well done narrator! Nice to get the pdf of the photos too. Will be buying this in print when the hardback goes on sale next month.

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Wild Aerial Ride!

Dan Pedersen takes the reader up in his backseat for a wild aerial ride throughout his entire Navy career. Vietnam, Top Gun, Supercarrier command, and a thorough education in ACM. Well written, superbly narrated, recommend highly!

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  • ken
  • 01-04-19

great listen, you feel like your in the cockpit

a well put together summary of a team's determination and will power to do it right.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-03-19

Great Insight into a Unique Organization

Great insight in the events leading up to the founding and success of Top Gun. A lot more than what you saw in the movie.

The writer takes you from the Korean War through Vietnam and other events that involved aerial combat. He also dives into the politics behind the new F35 and offers his personal opinion on the future of Naval Aviation with regards to fighters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Buttface
  • 24-07-19

Great book with an amazing voice

This book comes off as an amazing memoir from a truly great American and patriot. Few men can put their nation, their brothers and their service infront of themselves. The author is one of those very proud and honorable few.

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  • David H Milton
  • 21-07-19

Finally....perfection!

Pederson's first first narrative of his journey through naval aviation is moving and inspiring if only due to his honesty at so many levels of life. He explains his journey into military aviation, battle, and the higher callings of teaching and establishment of Top Gun. The continuity, humanity and intellect he shows at the apex of his life is moving, enlightening and endearing. His had been an epic life and he tells it well. And yes...if you are going to fly and be proficient....fly always and often!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-19

Great book!

If you were a part of Top Gun or just loved the movie, this book will be enjoyable to read. Thank you Dan for taking the time to put in words what happened with your bros. and your life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-07-19

Excellent

Read this book if you a aviation enthusiast. It's a lost art that we need.

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  • FaSSter
  • 18-06-19

I feel the need.... The need for speed.

Great book, listened to this over a few days. Couldn't wait to plug in and listen each time. Those books which draw you in are very rare. Love the insight and perspective of one who had been there and done that.
I also recommend Fighter Ace. If you read that one then this is another great book which will be a treasure for all interested in high Performance people and Wings.
Towards the end the author waxes lerical about the future of our Air Force... I do hope he is wrong or through his comments... altruistic people will read this and make necessary changes before we're caught off guard again
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Must read... Did not disappoint.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-06-19

Excellent for nuggets and old timers

Trucked through this book over a few days of heavy office work, and was incredibly refreshed by the insights on how to handle rigid organizational thinking, leadership, and crafting change from the bottom of an organization.

Dan Pederson delivers a story that stretches from the age of dark blue straight winged first generation jets, to the modern fifth generation, and drills home the idea that though technology changes and evolves, it is the decision-making, agression and experience of the person flying the jet who has the most ability to dictate what happens after the merge - though not intended, that message spoke right thru my mid thirties doldrums.

the delivery of the reader is pretty great, if not slightly marred by thier unfamiliarity with aviation and naval terms: hearing "Eh Eh Eh" instead of triple A throughout the Vietnam segments was the most glaring, but overall a fine job.

highly recommend.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-06-19

Excellent Naval Aviation History

This book provides the backstory of how Top Gun came to exist and the schools proud traditions and history. It’s a great story of Naval Aviation.

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  • Donna S.
  • 23-05-19

Wonderful story!

Exciting read. Entertaining, educational, informarive.
Learned a lot. Held my attention.
Recommend this to all readers.