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The Great Depression: A Diary Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2018

The Great Depression: A Diary is James Ledbetter’s and Daniel Roth’s edited version of Benjamin Roth’s personal diary that he wrote during the financial crisis of the 1930s. Being a lawyer with a wife and three kids, Roth experienced the major financial crisis of his life. Until today, historians have not wrapped their mind on matters that relate to the depression of 1930-1940, and why the crisis took that long.

As a lawyer, Roth documented the confessions from his clients and that of his friends to his journal for 10 years. According to these confessions, it is evident that everyone in all lines of businesses was struggling to earn a living (Ledbetter and Daniel 88). With the prices of everything going down, bank savings getting frozen, tenants being unable to pay rent, and just everyone struggling to survive, it is obvious that the economists of the 1930s had messed up some things along the way.

Having taken so long to retain the economic status of Ohio, it was Roth’s conclusion that neither the government nor the economists were any good. He had stopped believing in anything the government said; all he heard were depressing concerns from his clients, friends, and people around him. All businesses were getting worse; people had given up on the government in reviving the economic condition, and some people lost everything in their quest to look for safer forms of investment.

Given that his job depended on the financial stability of others, Roth was caught up in a crisis that would only be solved by venturing into other investments. Just like many people, he had ideas on how to invest safely, but had no money to do so. Though there are various theories mentioned that explains the cause of the crisis, Roth clearly insists on concerns about the war that was approaching as the major interruption that affected the intervention of the government in reviving the economy, and the stock market (Ledbetter and Daniel 201).

The book is an episode that entails the events that uncovered during the most fascinating era of the American history. For this, the book fails to entertain the readers as all the happenings documented are depressing. However, this was not the intention of Benjamin Roth as he only wrote this in his journal as a reminder of how hard times were, but it was his son Daniel who took it upon himself to published the diary as a book.

The book covers very little on the normal lifestyle of the people in Youngstown before the crisis; all that it documents are the hardships that describe Ohio as a hopeless place to live. With the current form of leadership, there are great lessons to be learnt from these events that took place decades ago. Having struggled for years to bring prosperity back, Roth understands how government policies and politics affect the future.

Having lived through this crisis, the book offers sincere and factual causes of the great depression, the hardships, and prices people had to pay to survive. The book is recommended for everyone as it documents events that took place in the 1930s that might be handy in getting ready for such crisis. It is an eye opener to those that are facing the current financial crisis as it holds a historic value that helps in avoiding the repetition of the mistakes that were made decades ago.

Works Cited

Ledbetter, James, and Daniel Roth. The Great Depression: A Diary. 1st ed. 2009. New York: Perseus Books Group. Print.

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