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Jeannie Whayne’s “Delta Empire” Wins the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award in Arkansas History

04/25/2012 09:02 AM

BATON ROUGE – “Delta Empire: Lee Wilson and the Transformation of Agriculture in the New South,” by Jeannie Whayne and published by LSU Press, won the J.G. Ragsdale Book Award in Arkansas history, presented annually by the Arkansas Historical Association. The award, which recognizes “Delta Empire” as the year’s best nonfiction book on Arkansas history, was presented at the association’s annual conference, held April 12–14 in Fayetteville, Ark.


In “Delta Empire,” Whayne employs the fascinating history of a powerful plantation owner, Robert E. “Lee” Wilson, in the Arkansas delta to recount the evolution of southern agriculture from the late 19th century through World War II. Through Wilson’s story, Whayne provides a compelling case study of both one man’s strategic innovation and the changing economy of South.


Whayne is a professor of history at the University of Arkansas and the author of “A New Plantation South: Land, Labor, and Federal Favor in Twentieth-Century Arkansas” and editor of several books, including “Shadows over Sunnyside: Evolution of a Plantation in Arkansas, 1830–1945” and “Arkansas Delta: A Land of Paradox.” She is also co-editor of “The Ongoing Burden of Southern History,” forthcoming from LSU Press in fall 2012.


For more information about the book, please visit

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