The Great Depression

The Great Depression : A Diary

3.77 (322 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This title offers a first-person diary account of living through the Great Depression, with haunting parallels to our own time. Benjamin Roth was born in New York City in 1894. When the stock market crashed in 1929, he had been practicing law for approximately ten years, largely representing local businesses. After nearly two years, he began to grasp the magnitude of what had happened to American economic life, and he began writing down his impressions in a diary that he maintained intermittently until he died in 1978. Roth's words from that unique time seem to speak directly to readers today. His perceptions and experiences have a chilling similarity to our own era. Like many of us, Roth struggles both to understand and to educate himself about what was going on around him. He is sceptical of big government, yet ultimately won over by FDR's New Deal. This collection of his diary entries, edited by James Ledbetter, editor of Slate's "The Big Money," reveals another side of the Great Depression - one lived through by ordinary, middle-class folks, who on a daily basis grappled with a swiftly changing economy coupled with anxiety about the unknown future. It is highly topical - and timely. The greatest financial disaster since the Great Depression has many Americans wondering what things were like as the Great Depression unfolded and people did not yet know how or when it would end. It is clear-eyed, readable - and eerily familiar. In short, concise, and thoughtful entries, Roth chronicles the most telling moments of the Great Depression, from the drop in the price of movie tickets to Hoover's failed free-market solutions to the rise in foreclosures in his hometown and how to benefit from 'bargains' at the much-diminished stock exchange. It is published one-year after the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros sent the world markets on a deep downward slide, and around the 80th anniversary of 'Black Tuesday'. It is presented in a beautiful package - endpapers using original diary entries, period photos throughout, and gorgeous interior design.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 162.56 x 233.68 x 30.48mm | 566.99g
  • INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • b/w photos
  • 158648799X
  • 9781586487997
  • 1,085,258

Review quote

Charles R. Morris, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown "Benjamin Roth has left us a vivid portrait of the Great Depression that is all the more powerful for the similarities and differences with the financial upheavals of today. Roth enables us -- in ways no historian can match -- to immerse ourselves in the sense of despair that Americans of that era felt and their hope that the economy would revive, long before it did. To read the diaries now is both enlightening and chilling."Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope "We imagine the Great Depression at two extremes--Franklin Roosevelt's jaunty smile and the haunting images of Dustbowl destitution. But in between were everyday middle class strivers like Benjamin Roth, trying to sort through the wreckage. FDR and the WPA may be long gone but the professional class remains, and the record of its struggle in the Depression has been thin until now. Roth's incisive diaries are more than a precious time capsule. They speak to our economic hopes and fears directly, and to the bewilderment of our own time."show more

About Benjamin Roth

James Ledbetter is the editor of "The Big Money," Slate.com's Web site on business and economics. Prior to joining Slate, he was deputy managing editor of CNNMoney.com, a financial news site. He is the author of several books, a former senior editor of Time Magazine, and his writing has also appeared in several other US publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Nation, Mother Jones, Vibe, Newsday, and The American Prospect. He lives in New York, NY.show more

Rating details

322 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 23% (73)
4 41% (131)
3 29% (94)
2 6% (20)
1 1% (4)
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