Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Topgun Days

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Review - Topgun Days

About the Book
Bio (The author) was one of 451 young men to become a Navy Flight Officer in 1980 and the only one that year to become a much-feared-and-respected Topgun instructor; an honor awarded only to the “best of the best.”  So when Hollywood green-lighted an obscure script for a movie about the elite Naval Fighter Weapons School (aka Topgun), they knocked on Bio’s door, and the rest is history. Top Gun the movie quickly became an out-of-nowhere, runaway blockbuster that earned $353 million worldwide, catapulted Tom Cruise into superstardom, and made American fighter pilots a cultural icon.

In his memoir TopGun Days, Bio not only takes the reader into the cockpit during the breathtaking aerial moves that made the movie great, he gives an inside view of people that make Topgun the best fighter training school in the world.  Bio recalls the experience of being (what he terms) a “regular guy” who was thrown into the whirlwind of Hollywood, from gala premiers and celebrity sightings, to world renown and screaming teens.  More than just a movie homage, Bio’s story offers:

  • A Story of Perseverance -- how he overcame airsickness during dynamic maneuvering in flight training.
  •  First Person Faceoffs in the air at 700 MPH!
  • A Cold War Perspective - aerial missions to neutralize Soviet bomber threats.
  • Life-or-death adventure -- how he survived a split-second ejection from a crashing F-14. 
  • Tidbits - How Topgun students receive their call-signs -- “Bio” is short for bionic, which rhymes with Baranek, Dave’s last name. 
  • The first takes of Top Gun—which had to be redone because they were inaccurate or improbable—to wrapping day. 
  • Bio’s first time being spotted by giggling teenage girls during the making of the movie.
  • Dozens of full-color photos of Bio’s planes, flights in action, Tom Cruise on set, and Hollywood parties, including a picture of Tom Cruise kissing Bio’s wife! 
  • A glossary of flight terms and important Topgun information.
Written in a style that can only be rendered by a dangerous pilot and a top expert in the field, TopGun Days is not just a fast, fun read, but an experience.  Strap yourself into a Navy fighter jet and feel the rush caused by roaring afterburners, supersonic shockwaves, intense G-Forces, and Hollywood glamour. From beginning to end, TopGun Days is quite a ride!!! 

The launch of TopGun Days in ebook format coincides with a special discount through the next several weeks; you can consider it a Top Gun 25th Anniversary special (It’s 4.99, down from 24.95—yup, that’s a real discount :)  So check out the ebook as well! links to your review when you post? Thanks:

About the Author:
Dave "Bio" Baranek enjoyed a successful and satisfying twenty-year career in the United States Navy, starting with assignments to F-14 Tomcat squadrons and later assignment to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Baranek retired from the Navy in 1999 and now works as a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C., area. He lives in Burke, Virginia. Learn more about Baranek at

My Take on the Book
I am not a pilot, nor will I be, but in this book the author takes you on a ride you will never forget! In reading this book you simply are taken behind the veiled curtain and into the inner sanctum of Top Gun. As a fan of the original movie, it was very cool to read accounts of the school, and the movie all in one. 

The book was written in such a way that anyone can understand, without technical jargon. Instead the author has written a true-to-life account of Miramar and what it took to be a part of the elite Top Gun program, as well as what it took to be a part of the making of the hit Hollywood movie. 

There were so many moments that were heart stopping in the book, but one that stands out was the moment by moment accounting of the author's ejection from an F-14 into the Indian Ocean. Never before have I read something that was so blunt, honest and true.   

This was a great read and one that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in flying or anyone interested in an action packed tale - it will keep you on the edge of your seat!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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