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The Forge

(The Vaiden Trilogy #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  327 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Forge follows the story of Miltiades Vaiden, a Civil War veteran who has returned to his southern home in the hopes of rebuilding and eventually rising into the ranks of the middle class.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published March 30th 1985 by University of Alabama Press (first published 1931)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  327 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am on a mission to read the (fiction)'s a challenge I set myself years ago, and I'm making slow but steady progress. The Store, the second book in this trilogy, won the Pulitzer in 1933. And, of course, I couldn't read the second book without reading the first! I believe I purchased the book from either Amazon or AbeBooks, as the books are somewhat scarce - I don't think I was able to Mooch it.

The Forge introduces us to the Vaiden family, a seemingly normal family of the pre-Ci
A.C. Collins
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
T. S. Stribling was born and raised in Florence, Alabama and The Forge takes place near Gravelly Springs and Florence. This elaborate tale of the area just before, during and after the Civil War follows the experiences of the Vaiden family. Stribling's first of a trilogy, the second of which, The Store won the Pultizer in 1933, The Forge is a winding tale of action and a picture of life as I've never considered it at that time, a very human rendition of the war time south and the Yankees who res ...more
Tracy Towley
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Forge is book 1 in the 3 part Vaiden series. The books begin at the start of the Civil War and follow one Southern family through reconstruction.

The second in the series, The Store, won the Pulitzer in 1933, so I decided to read the entire series.

The Forge was very successful at creating this family and depicting their lives. The pace was quick, in fact in the 500 or so pages of this first book, we went all the way through a family owning slaves, signing up to fight in the Civil War, losing
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Very readable and fair, especially considering it was published in 1931.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
It took me a long time to track down this book. I had to put in three different interlibrary loan requests before the library was able to get me a copy. So was it worth the wait? Meh. It wasn't bad, and I'm going to read the next book in the trilogy, but it wasn't the best thing I've read. It was okay.
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
I just thought I'd include this since although I read it a long time ago, it's a little known bookd about the Civil War and I have fond memories of it. This novel was written in the thirties about a locale near the Alabama-Tennessee border during the Civil War, based loosely on living memory, and has rich dialogue and an authentic feel about it. I've got a copy if you want to borrow.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hard to handle some of the language but this book speaks about voter suppression in the south as if it were being written today.
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Strange novel about a slave-owning family in north Alabama pre- and post- Civil War. The patriarch of the family earned his land and slaves as a blacksmith. Most of the characters are pretty bizarre, especially the old man and his wife. The opening sections, recording some of the family's conversations, reminded me vaguely of the odd, whimsical word flow in Kelly's Pogo. Interesting, but the reader will have to be willing to skim over the racially biased words (they may just be here as a cover-u ...more
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Portrays the South after the Civil War. Mainly read it as a precursor to The Store.

The Forge follows the story of Miltiades Vaiden, a Civil War veteran who has returned to his southern home in the hopes of rebuilding and eventually rising into the ranks of the middle class.
Charlie Spearman
Not as good as I expected. Chronology of Civil War is way off and gives traditional view of reconstruction. Gives point of view of some characters at beginning and then drops them for the rest of the book.
Diana Eberhardt
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story, full of archaic and regional words and expressions. However, the n-word always gives me a painful shock, no matter who uses it or in what time period.
Apr 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2020-new
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Published in 1931 - about Civil War in the South and views of slavery. Some used the Bible to justify slavery which I had forgotten. Caution if you're offended by the "N" word because it is full of it; you have to keep in mind of when it was written. First book of a trilogy, the 2nd of which won the Pulitzer Prize and is called "The Store" which I have ordered from the library.

Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I checked this book out from the NC State University library. The book was a first printing (1931)embossed with NC State College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. I don't know when the author started writing this account of the Civil War, but it is apparent that he had personal connections with many people who may have survived this war, as soldier and as civilian. Having grown up in the south, here are some quotes that hit home with me:
"The North is concerned mainly with gaining a livelihood;
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book follows the the fall of the South from the antebellum period through the reconstruction through the eyes of the Vaiden family. The beginning of the saga reads a little like an American Pride and Prejudice. I had a difficult time discerning whether the author's hypocrisy was intentional or ironic with regard to his characters. The bias against "yankees" bordered on caricature at various points, as did the the depictions of slaves as child-like and animal in nature. Yet even the losses o ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book felt like a truthful account of a family during that time period (just before, during, and just after the Civil War). Most books of about this time period try to glorify the South in some way, and they avoid all of the real problems, issues and social hypocrisies that that existed.

That being said this book is uncomfortable to read at times, because of their poor treatment of slaves and former slaves. However, at the same time it seems like a time capsule of how live was like. It shows
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in T.S. Stribling's trilogy. If I'm going to read a Pulitzer winner, and the winner is in a series then it makes sense to me to read the whole series. The remaining books in this series are "The Store" and "Unfinished Cathedral". The series is great historical fiction.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-novel
an interesting book. written in 1930 as the first book in a series of a 100 year history of the South. This book covers the period before the Civil War and through reconstruction. It is set in northern Alabama. Definitely not "politically correct" in today's environment but an excellent history.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Langauge and social views are dated. Characters are intriguing. Darker than gone with the wind. Still, the story is engaging. The reason I read it is because I'm interested in the sequel.
Salvatore Leone
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Entertaining story, told from the point of view of a southern family at the beginning of the civil war. I have the second and third in the series and will read them as well.
Brakob Arthur
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stark portrayal of slavery and civil war America. Follows the fortunes and failings of an Alabama family from pre war through the beginning of reconstruction. Very moving.
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David Bennett
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Apr 11, 2013
Eduardo Paz
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Aug 16, 2018
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May 26, 2015
Kendra Crowell
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Dec 04, 2013
rated it it was ok
Dec 23, 2018
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May 14, 2014
Jacob Appel
rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2013
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Thomas Sigismun Stribling was a staff writer for "Saturday Evening Post" and a lawyer. He published under the name T.S. Stribling. In the 1920's and 1930's, T. S. was America's foremost author. His most notable works were "Birthright," "Teeftfollow," "Backwater," "The Forge" and "The Unfinished Cathedral". He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, "The Store" in 1933.

Other books in the series

The Vaiden Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Store
  • Unfinished Cathedral

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“The funeral formed such a little, little group among the endless undulations of the hills. When it was over they moved weeping away and left the filling of the grave to Columbus and Robinet. These black men were supposed not to suffer at covering their lifelong companion with earth.

They were black.”
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