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Gerard Helferich

Gerard Helferich is the author of High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta (Counterpoint, 2008), which received the 2008 Author’s Award for nonfiction from the Mississippi Library Association. His other books include Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 (Lyons, 2013), Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya (Lyons, 2012), and Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World (Gotham, 2004). A member of the National Book Critics Circle, he publishes book reviews in the Wall Street Journal.


An early, opened cotton boll, about a month before harvesting. Yazoo City, MS, September 2013.

White Gold

Spring 2014 | Reporting

The all-​time peak for cotton farming in Mississippi was 1930, when more than 4 million acres were grown. In 2009, barely 300,000 acres were planted statewide. Mississippi has transformed from the Land of Cotton to the Land of Soybeans and Corn.