There are what are called creation myths. Most of these emanate from so-called primitive societies and contain their explanation of how the world came into creation. As all mythology has certain things in common it stands to reason the political mythology should also have its creation myth and one of the greatest of these is that FDR’s New Deal not only alleviated and them ended the depression but that it also gave us a sound financial basis on which to continue. If Roth’s book is not a gospel of this myth it is certainly at least an epistle.
As for the ongoing myth, perpetuated by the government with the aid of ignorance, that our recent financial troubles have been on par with the depression we have included pictures with this post – many of them taken by government photographers throughout the 1930’s – showing the conditions during the New Deal. The actual depression was only ended by of revitalized industry – preparing for and executing WWII – and our postwar prosperity was due in large part to the continuation of a military industrial basis. From the New Deal through the Great Society through the current day real economic freedom – including the freedom to fail as well as the freedom to succeed – has never been tried and the net result is the hybrid economy that we have of capitalized socialism that – like Mr. Battocks – is neither the one thing nor the other.
The Great Depression : a diary Benjamin Roth ; edited by James Ledbetter and Daniel B. Roth New York : PublicAffairs, c 2009 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xxiv, 256 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Benjamin Roth was born in New York City in 1894 and moved shortly thereafter to Youngstown, Ohio. He received a law degree and moved back to Youngstown after serving as an Army officer during World War I. When the stock market crashed in 1929, he had been practicing law for approximately ten 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.
Roth struggles both to understand and to educate himself about what was going on around him. He is skeptical of big government, yet ultimately won over by FDR’s New Deal. This collection of his diary entries 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.