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Publisher's Summary

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 10 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".

©2009 PublicAffairs (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Great Depression

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Instructive and enjoyable

What did you love best about The Great Depression?

The narrative was engaging and it was an important slice of history.

What other book might you compare The Great Depression to and why?

It somewhat reminds me of "When Money Dies" by Adam Ferguson. You get snapshots during a dire financial times.

Any additional comments?

This book should be a must read for everyone. The story is from a middle classed professional's standpoint. You realize how tough times were when a lawyer has to eschew going to the movie theater because he hasn't been paid in months and the bills keep piling up.This book puts the recent financial crisis in perspective via the pen of Benjamin Roth, the man who lived it. It would be advisable to check out the physical book to follow along. The book references stock and commodity prices at various diary entry points to help the reader gauge the mood of main street and wall-street. Benjamin Roth is a Republican, this book is composed of his diary entries, so his views are expressed through that prism. It is an excellent book and I have no complaints.

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ABSOLUTELY !

Great account of a time we can't even remotely imagine.

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Look at the past to see the future

Loved listening to this informative work and now have better understanding of the country's future

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Very interesting then repetitive

this is a fascinating account, although the editing seemed to be lacking. often the editor's note gave a summary, then the diary repeated the information almost verbatim. Roth spends a lot of time reportimg on market data, which at times is interesting to see the wild changes, but I grew tired of reading stock quotes. Probably could have been made much more interesting and fluid with a little more selective editing.

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The boogie man was hiding under the bed.

Inflation was just one of the boogie men that this man redundantly feared through the entire book, I should have look closer when buying it but it was on sale. I thought I bought a book on The Great Depression. Not a book on the ideas of one man from Columbus Ohio. His account was more on what to buy in the Stock Market and how to get rich, rather than the time of the depression. Very disappointed in this book. It sound like this Man reads the newspaper and listened to the Radio way too much.

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The best book I've ever read on the Great Depress

This is one of the most gripping books I've ever read . My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and told me many stories about how difficult life was back then. I never appreciated those difficulties until I read this book. It is stunning.

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Rather scary…kudos to those who survived through the 1930’s

Although I didn’t understand all the financial terminology, this book helped explain why the Depression happened and the impact it had on professional people living in urban and suburban areas. Their experience was dreadful and stagnant, but not as devastating as those living in the heartland in the dust bowl. Thankfully the author did not become homeless either, as too many city dwellers were forced to live in Hoovervilles.
FDRs attempts were well meaning, but unfortunately not very successful over time, and began building the national deficit that is now in the trillions, and have led the US to be on the verge of complete socialism today. Our Congressional leaders should brush up on our history before they lead us to a point beyond recognition.

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Great for Stock Market self study

Great for Stock Market self study👍 Definitely prefer the audiobook version to the paper version.

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great history record!

Eye opening how similar things are now. Be smart and learn history or you are doomed to repeat it!

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A good read for the times.

Great wisdom and insight. This book gives a personal glimpse of the great depression that is not taught in in history books. I love the financial wisdom woven in throughout.

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  • ganiyu
  • 01-22-12

Expect the best but plan for the worse.

A second depression could occur if the Euro collapses, some believe it's inevitable I hope it doesn't but I think it will because Europe is in tremendous debt that it cannot pay back over the long term.
Non the less only time will tell.

This book is written as a diary and does an amazing job at putting across what it was like to have lived during a time of great shortage, struggle and anxiety.

It's not depressing because you don't engage on an emotional level with a central charcter.
Still it draws you in and I find it personally speaking - riveting!

I am a husband and father of two boys, this book is of great value to me due to the insights it offers it also aids me in my goal to become be a wise steward with finance.

Expect the best but plan for the worse.

Anybody who has the honour to read or listen to this audio-book owes the writer Daniel Benjamin Roth a great deal of thanks.

Let me be the first on this site to do so.

I am giving it 5 stars for the invaluable insight and indirect wisdom i have recieved by listening to it.
I took a chance on this book and it was more than worth my monthly credit!
I'm sure you can benefit from it too.

Go for it!!

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  • Paul Murphy
  • 05-04-20

Dry

Looking for an engaging narrative...got a statistical analysis of the DOW of the 30's
Disapointing...the balance was too 'stock' based.
Some interesting crumbs but no real meat...
Diary's are made to be 'personal' 'human' 'emotional'...this was neither

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  • MattyN
  • 12-07-21

A superb book

I really, really enjoyed this title.
It has a big focus on stocks, bonds and gilts etc. and some may be put off by this. I have an interest in financial matters and so it was perfect for me. It is a warning from history and it appears that the lessons it offers have not been learned.
I was surprised to read a criticism of 'The new deal' introduced by the Democrats during the depression, it challenged what I had previously read and it appears that it was second world war that came to the rescue of America.

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  • Mr A A Harvey
  • 01-13-21

A real indication of how bad the depression was

A real understanding of the Great Depression from an ordinary person's experience and not a second hand opinion. A true sense of how long it lasted, the depth of the depression and how people struggled for such a long time