Cover Image: Top Gun

Top Gun

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An intense read.
It is both a review of the movie Top Gun and an insight into the whole ethos of fighter pilots.
With a detailed historical review of aviation history of conflicts the US has been involved in and American pilots have flown sorties and fighter missions. The author ties the film into the reasons the US Navy began its topgun programme.
Filled with photographs of great quality and action shots of some of the most elite aircraft to take to the skies. This is a book that will delight the casual fan, fascinate those who have an interest in aerial combat and the development of design and tactics to rule the skies.
It also charts the natural historical evolution of men and machines; why they became “aces” and the deserve the reputation of being egotistic and mavericks like Tom Cruise and heroes, boosting morale on the home front.
I learned so much. Not just about tactics and formations but the harsh realities of conflict. Why design and roles have changed over time to the point where close ‘dog fights’ were confined to history.
I have always enjoyed movies set during battles and detailing wartime struggles for supremacy. I feel this book alone has explained perhaps why that it so from The Blue Max to Top Gun. It is also crammed with information in addition to its many photographs. It is balanced it not taking sides and records details of all involvement in hostile conflicts. I understood why the venue for the French Tennis Open got its name.
Above all I was thoroughly entertained in my reading and gained a great deal of respect for these amazing men and women in their flying machines.
While the emphasis has been the role of planes linked to the US Navy and the additional problems that produced over time and into the future with moving landing strips it is a homage to all who take to the air.
Was this review helpful?
In 1969, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas H. Moorer was determined to improve naval air superiority across the board. “No matter how complex or how awesome you build the weapons of war,” he said, “man is still the vital element of our defense team. Men make decisions, men fight battles, men win war.”

That declaration in 1969 set the United States on a mission of air superiority rivaling every other country in the world. Dwight Jon Zimmerman’s book, “Top Gun: 50 Years of Naval Superiority,” chronicles the US Navy’s past, present and future in attaining that superiority.

Zimmerman’s book is filled with beautiful pictures of some of the most advance aircraft that have ever flown in combat since World War I. He covers the heroes of the Great Wars, the American, French and British aces of the skies. He covers the aircraft and strategies utilized to fight the Korean and Vietnam wars. He even covers some history on Lockheed Martin’s skunkworks stealth aircraft and the rise of aerial drones.

The various trivia and information packed in between the numerous photographs would interest every naval enthusiast. The parts that were hardest to understand was at the outset of the book and at its conclusion include a synopsis of the 1986 blockbuster, “Top Gun,” starring Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer and others. The odd arrangement at the very beginning of the book, threw me off. Most of the history included both a synopsis of the movie, and then a history of how it fared at the box office. Accompanying this were biographies of the cast and crew. This might have been an interesting aside for fans, however, it seemed like where it was included didn’t fit or flow with the rest of the book.

The book ends not with a peering into the future of what’s next for the Navy and its evolution of aircraft, rather it returns to the “Top Gun” movie franchise and the rumored sequel: “Top Gun: Maverick,” which has Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer in collaboration on the project. Again, this would have been an interesting note to accompany the rest of the book, but it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the book as a whole. It seems by putting these references at the front of the book and then having extensive pages devoted at the end of the book, it draws away from the history of the real Topgun and the Navy’s many accomplishments throughout the years.

Overall, if you enjoy learning about naval history and want to learn more about the aircraft used and developed since the early 1900s, this is a fascinating read detailing that history. I am giving the book overall three stars because of the odd arrangement and amount of pages devoted to the Top Gun movie franchise, which I found to be not as interesting as the rest of the book.
Was this review helpful?
A horrible mish-mash of "Top Gun," the movie and "Topgun" the Navy program.  Actually, a weird combination of movies involving airplanes and a history of aerial warfare.  No, wait, it has bombers in there, as well, so it's not just air combat.  Captions have the wrong designation (there is no F-18 Tomcat, it's the F-14 Tomcat).  The subtitle is misleading at best.  I'm not quite sure what to make of this book.
Was this review helpful?