The Mighty Moo

The USS Cowpens and Her Epic World War II Journey from Jinx Ship to the Navy's First Carrier into Tokyo Bay


By Nathan Canestaro

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$21.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 11, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The Mighty Moo is the tale of how a scrappy little World War II aircraft carrier and its untested crew earned a distinguished combat record and beat incredible odds to earn 12 battle stars in the Pacific.

The USS Cowpens and her crew weren’t your typical heroes.  She was a flattop that the US Navy initially didn’t want, with a captain nearly scapegoated for the loss of his last command, pilots who self-trained on the planes they would fly into combat, and sailors that had been in uniform barely longer than the ship had been afloat.  Despite their humble origins, Cowpens and her band of second-string reservists and citizen sailors served with distinction, fighting in nearly every major carrier operation from 1943 to 1945, including the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf.  Together they faced a deadly typhoon that brought the ship to the verge of capsizing, and at war’s end there was only one US aircraft carrier in Tokyo Bay to witness the Japanese surrender—The Mighty Moo. 

In the years to follow, Cowpens’ service has become the wellspring for a remarkable modern tradition, both within the US Navy and the small Southern town that still celebrates her legacy with a festival every year. The Mighty Moo is a biography of a World War II aircraft carrier as told through the voices of its heroic crew—a “Band of Brothers at sea.”

  • "The epic voyages of USS Cowpens in the Second World War encompass and illuminate the greatest naval campaign in history. This is an insider look at one of the most storied ships of the U.S. Navy, the Mighty Moo, and is a powerful and moving story in every dimension."
    Admiral James Stavridis (ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, and author of To Risk it All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision
  • "Emblematic of the over-looked role of light carriers in World War II, the USS Cowpens nonetheless fought in every major Pacific campaign from Wake Island to Tokyo Bay. From the ship’s log and the diaries and letters of her crew, Nathan Canestaro has crafted an epic tale that is at once both the story of a ship and an intimate portrait of the men who sailed aboard and flew from her deck. As Admiral Halsey signaled, 'Well done!'"
    Walter R. Borneman, author of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King
  • “Canestaro's riveting narrative zooms us from the air group's daring attacks to smash the Japanese Navy to the desperate hours of Typhoon Cobra… This is a jaw-dropping tale of American sailors at war overcoming every challenge they faced with loyalty and heroism. This book is simply outstanding and a long needed addition to the story of the Pacific War.”
    John R. Bruning, author of Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky
  • “I love a good naval history. Ian Toll and James Hornfischer are two of my favorite writers on the subject. I now have added a third: Nathan Canestaro. In the Mighty Moo, he takes a personal family story and brings it to stirring life, chronicling the epic journey of a ‘jinxed’ ship and its crew as they face down incredible adversity to reach the heights of naval glory in WWII.”
    Neal Bascomb, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mile and The Nazi Hunters

On Sale
Jun 11, 2024
Page Count
320 pages

Nathan Canestaro

About the Author

Nathan Canestaro is a professional intelligence officer whose research on his grandfather’s service in World War II led to a decade-​long effort to uncover the story of Cowpens and her crew. Currently on assignment to the National Intelligence Council, Nathan has twenty-​five years of experience writing about military operations for policymakers in the US government. He has graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee,
Georgetown, and Yale, and lives outside Washington, DC, with his family. This is his first book.

Learn more about this author