High Cotton by Gerard Helferich
Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta

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Combining an engaging personal narrative with a strong sense of American history, "High Cotton" details a year in the life of a modern-day cotton farmer. The rich, flat topsoil of the Mississippi Delta has seen both astonishing economic production and some of the most tragic history in America's past. Contested ground since European explorers first set foot there three centuries ago, it turned out to have the ideal climate for growing cotton, a crop that seemed destined to a marginal role in America's economy until technology and politics combined to make it one of the driving forces behind the bloodiest war in the country's history. Its legacy echoed in the racial divide of the century that followed. Against this historical backdrop, Gerard Helferich traces the life of a modern cotton farmer, exploring the traditions of growing cotton that have endured since ancient times - and the current forces that threaten to drive small farmers from the land. "High Cotton" spends a year with small-time farmer Zack Killebrew and his family, recording the annual cycle of planting, cultivation and harvest, as Zack teeters between the promise of a six-figure payoff and the ever-present peril of financial ruin. Combining an engaging personal narrative and a strong sense of time and place, "High Cotton" is a story with deep roots in American history.

About Gerard Helferich

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Before beginning to write in 2002, Gerard Helferich was an editor and publisher for 25 years at several houses in New York, including Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, and John Wiley. Helferich's other works include Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya, as well as the highly praised Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World and the award-winning High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta.
Published June 5, 2007 by Counterpoint. 328 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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They teach us about the geology of the Delta, its natural history, the chemistry of cotton, the evolution and workings of the cotton gin, the creation of genetically engineered seeds, battles with pests, crop-dusting, irrigation, the history and functions of relevant farm equipment, the political...

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The New York Times

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A year in the life of a small cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta.

Sep 09 2007 | Read Full Review of High Cotton: Four Seasons in ...

Publishers Weekly

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At his best, Helferich provides valuable insights into the historical and cultural significance of cotton in the United States and the implications of the transition from slave labor to the sharecropping system, “a more insidious method of binding the workers to the land.” When mechanical pickers...

May 14 2007 | Read Full Review of High Cotton: Four Seasons in ...

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