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.