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The Great Depression: A Diary Paperback – August 31, 2010
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“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."
New York Times
“Mr. Roth’s diaries … are compelling reading, because they force readers to reflect on both the similarities and the differences between then and now…. We’re all a little like Benjamin Roth, asking questions we don’t know the answer to, and wonder, as he did 70 years ago, whether the crisis is, indeed, over.”
“Here are brief, unsentimental, clear-eyed notes of the growing sense of hopelessness that came over Midwestern American life. This moving book is edited by [Roth’s] son Daniel.”
“A fascinating read, and strangely familiar.”
“[Roth’s] entries compellingly detail the everyday”
“Roth’s diary is plainly written and professionally edited. It is a window on another age.”
“There is an honest searching quality to his day-by-day accounts of banks closing, bread lines forming, friends failing. Striving to understand, he provides a remarkable and often engagingly literate discussion of the great Depression’s impact on people like him.”
About the Author
Daniel B. Roth, son of Benjamin Roth, is the chairman of the law firm of Roth, Blair, Roberts, Strasfeld & Lodge in Youngstown, Ohio.
Top customer reviews
Another major theme in the book deals with how hard the Depression was on the law profession. The Diary did paint a very depressing picture of all the bank failures, everywhere. It helped me understand why my parents and grandparents never really trusted banks.
Overall somewhat depressing and not very informative. The editor's notes are from 2009 and are very dated as they were done at the very beginning of our Great Recession.