Topgun is a double biography, of the navy pilot program and of Captain Pedersen, who entered the Navy as an enlisted sailor and rose to command the USS Ranger, an angled-deck supercarrier. He twice went to war, in 1967 over North Vietnam and in 1973 over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.
The lively prose is gripping in a subtle way and while some writers struggle to keep interest from chapter to chapter, in Topgun Pedersen has the reader even looking forward to the next paragraph. No technical knowledge needed, the author writes for a general audience. Often the author repeats phrases but that gives the narrative intimacy. The book also jumps around in its organization although the reader becomes too engrossed to care.
This is a very personal memoir by Capt. Pedersen...It gives considerable insights into a number of events, incidents and programs that had such a significant impact in his life and on his career ... It is clear and well-written and includes a glossary of terms for those not so well-schooled in military acronyms and terminology. As a memoir, there are no notes or bibliography; however, the photograph section is a highlight and includes many shots in color with others of contemporary black and white ...This is a quick and easy read yet holds one’s interest over and above the actual Top Gun program development.
...you will learn a dizzying array of facts about naval aviation and air-to-air combat ... This is an exciting and well-written journey through more than five decades of naval and air-combat history and the service to which Pedersen devoted most of his life.