My Father's Diary of The Great Depression



Daniel B. Roth is Chairman of the Youngstown, Ohio, law firm of Roth, Blair, Roberts, Strasfeld & Lodge, LPA; and also chairman of McDonald Steel Corp. He was co-editor of The Great Depression: A Diary, Public Affairs, 2009.

By Daniel B. Roth

“I’m proud to be your grandson.”

These words, expressed by one of my six grandchildren at my recent 80th birthday celebration, really choked me up because I know that it was a direct result of the publication of my father’s diary. My father, Benjamin Roth, was a 35-year-old lawyer in Youngstown, Ohio, when the stock market crashed in October 1929. At first, he paid little attention to the crash because he had never invested in the market. However, by June 1931 he realized that the country was facing a major financial crisis, and he began writing a financial diary of what became known as the Great Depression. This was not a “diary” in the usual sense because he didn’t discuss family and friends. Instead, as he wrote in his initial entry on June 5, 1931:

For the first time in my personal business life, I am witnessing a major financial crisis. I am anxious to learn the lessons of this Depression. To the man past middle life it spells tragedy and disaster. But to those of us in the middle 30s, it may be a school of experience out of which some worthwhile lesson may be salvaged. With this thought in mind, I am going to write down brief accounts of developments as they occur from time to time.

When he wrote that, he had no idea that the Depression would last for a decade. Likewise, he couldn’t have foreseen that he would be analyzing the financial ramifications of the New Deal, nor did he realize the impact that his diary would have on future generations. As I re-read the diary, I clearly recognize the great impact that it has had on my life and how it has helped shape my basic beliefs. I share his faith in this country and his belief in our capitalistic system, as well as his fear of the government creating an unwieldy amount of debt that could result in serious inflation.

When growing up, neither my siblings nor I knew that my father was writing the diary. However, when I joined my father in the practice of law in 1956, my first assignment was to study his diary so that I could gain insight into the Depression mentality of his clientele. Reading it made a tremendous impression on me, and I was amazed by my parents’ strength in raising three children during a time when they were uncertain as to how to keep food on the table. Even more, I remain deeply impressed by my father’s ability to have studiously and objectively analyzed the great financial issues of those years. In re-reading his diary, I see a very bright and honorable man with an intense desire to understand the economic crisis and to learn how to protect oneself during such difficult times. His diary has provided me with a front row seat on the history of the Great Depression.

At times, he became quite emotional. On Oct. 17, 1931, he wrote:

As I bring to a close the first volume of my personal observations on the Depression, I must breathe deeply and pinch myself to be sure I am awake and not dreaming... It is all unreal to me. Each day I move about in a dream. I feel as tho I am experiencing a historic thing which will be long remembered. So far, I have not been badly hurt personally—we are all well—I still have faith in Youngstown and in the United States in spite of the dire prophecies that are heard on every side! Somehow it all reminds me of the war days of 1917-18 when with bated breath we asked "What next?"

On other occasions, he wrote positive sentiments. For example, on June 23, 1932 (the very bottom of the depression), he wrote:

These are stirring days and in spite of our troubles it is good to be alive. I am reminded often of the days of the world war when families and businesses were mercilessly uprooted and broken. It is same today. Fundamentals are being changed and new foundations are being placed for what we all hope will be a new era of prosperity.

He also developed strong opinions concerning efforts by the government to end the Depression. On March 1, 1938, he wrote:

After eight years of "pump priming" and other trick methods of bringing back prosperity, it is my conclusion that none of them are any good. In our capitalistic system, we must let the forces of competition and demand and supply work things out in a natural way. No man or group of men is smart enough to control prices or supply and demand or currency in a nation as large as ours.

Shortly before his death in 1978, my father gave me his diary and asked me to some day edit and publish his work; and although I promised I would, it was not until my son Bill (a money manager in New York) urged me to do so that I began editing the diary with the help of James Ledbetter, the editor of The Big Money, a web magazine on business and economics. The book was published by Public Affairs last October with the title, The Great Depression: A Diary. As a result, people from all over America have sent me correspondence telling me about their families’ experiences during the Depression. In many cases, they expressed fear that we are currently in another Depression with massive federal debt creation that will be followed by serious inflation.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to my father for providing me and future generations with his detailed history of the Great Depression. His diary has become a window to the past and a link among four generations in my family.

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Daniel B. Roth is Chairman of the Youngstown, Ohio, law firm of Roth, Blair, Roberts, Strasfeld & Lodge, LPA; and also chairman of McDonald Steel Corp. He was co-editor of The Great Depression: A Diary, Public Affairs, 2009.


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Once again, the media has failed to carry out even the most cursory investigation when it comes to allegations against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). But investigative journalist David Steinberg has been piecing together "32 new, verifiable, archived pieces of evidence" that indicate Omar conducted the "most extensive spree of state and federal felonies by an elected congressperson in U.S. history."

Steinberg joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail how the pieces fit together in his latest report available on TheBlaze.com.

"It's over," Steinberg told Glenn. "There's really nothing left. It's all ... the publicly available documentation that anyone would need to be convinced that, for eight years, [Omar] married her brother to commit immigration fraud. And this marriage fraud also was in the service of education fraud/student loan fraud. And along the line, we have evidence, that she filed at least two years of fraudulent tax returns, possibly eight [years]. We have evidence that she perjured herself eight times during her 2017 divorce from this man. And along the way, of course, we know she was living in public housing. We also know she was likely receiving subsidized child care.

"Essentially, almost everything she put her name on for eight years was perjury or fraud. And it all adds up to likely the most extensive spree of state and federal felonies by an elected congressperson in U.S. history. I really have no other way to put it. That's how big this is."

Watch the video below to get the details:

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The extreme-left idea that gender is "fluid" is a complete denial of science, according to sex researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Debra Soh.

Dr. Soh joined Glenn Beck on his latest podcast to talk about her new book, "THE END OF GENDER: Debunking the Myths about Sex & Identity in Our Society" and to offer a hard dose of objective truth about gender and sexual orientation based on scientific facts.

She also explained why she had to leave academia to be able to speak freely about sex and identity, and how — despite being a liberal — the far-left is actively trying to cancel her for saying there are biological differences between men and women.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of the "Glenn Beck Podcast with Dr. Debra Soh here.

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In February 2020, Glenn Beck and his research team uncovered an alleged multi-billion dollar money laundering scheme which lead to a missing $1.8 billion in U.S. aid sent to Ukraine during the Obama administration, all of which pointed to Igor Kolomoisky, the corrupt Ukrainian billionaire at the center of it all.

If you missed Glenn's February special, "Ukraine: The Final Piece," you can find it here.

This week, the FBI raided the offices of U.S. companies owned by Kolomoisky in Cleveland and Miami. Additionally, the Department of Justice accused the Ukrainian oligarch of stealing billions of dollars from PrivatBank and then laundering the money through a network of companies all over the world. Kolomoisky and partner, Hennadiy Boholyubov, owned PrivatBank until December 2016, when Ukraine nationalized the bank because billions of dollars had gone missing.

Kolomoisky has ties to the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, former Burisma board member Hunter Biden, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose phone call with President Donald Trump was central to the Democrats' now-failed impeachment attempt.

On the radio program Friday, Glenn spoke with chief researcher Jason Buttrill about these latest developments.

"Yeah, $1.8 billion of [taxpayer] money that just vanished has now been found, or at least part of it, in Miami and Cleveland," Glenn said.

"I can't believe it's taken this long," Jason responded. "You said in February that [Kolomoisky] was the key to finding out where the money went. And we're talking about $1.8 billion dollars — $1.8 billion! That could finance a small war."

"That money went to PrivatBank — that's Kolomoisky's bank," he continued. "It was later nationalized after they found out all this money was mysteriously going missing. But it went through a bank in Cypress then, poof, it was laundered all over the world. [...] We also showed, in one of the previous shows, that there were wire transfers going from Burisma, which Kolomoisky is the managing principal of, to Hunter Biden."

Glenn and Jason also talked about recent reports from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging ties between American revolutionaries, such as Antifa, and Marxist terrorists in Syria, which BlazeTV exposed back in June. Find out more here.

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The Federal Reserve is now doing two things it has promised never to do: purchasing our national debt, which has never been higher, and printing money, which leads to deflation. As a result, your money in the bank has already lost 10 percent of its value in recent weeks.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck explained how, thanks to the fed's poor decision making, our deficits have another dangerous effect: The United States' credit score has been downgraded, putting our country at risk of becoming an untrustworthy borrower. He also advises Americans to have at least a week's worth of cash at home, because a banking crisis could happen soon.

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