The Great Depression

  • by James Ledbetter, Daniel B. Roth
  • Narrated by Mike Chamberlain
  • 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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".


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Kenneth

Long and repetitive, but unique and insightful.

I listened to this book in 25 minute chunks and enjoyed it. Because of the diary format I don't think longer sessions would have been enjoyable.
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- David Sharpe

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios