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The Store

(The Vaiden Trilogy #2)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  542 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The Pulitzer prize-winning The Store is the second novel of Stribling’s monumental trilogy set in the author’s native Tennessee Valley region of north Alabama. The action begins in 1884, the year in which Grover Cleveland became the first Democratic president since the end of the Civil War; and it centers about the emergence of a figure of wealth in the city of Florence.

Paperback, 592 pages
Published August 30th 1985 by University Alabama Press (first published 1932)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  542 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book should be required reading for everyone in America. An unflinching portrayal of race relations in the deep south after The Civil War and during the Reconstruction Era, it holds no punches. With the end of the Civil War and slavery, Colonel Miltiades Vaiden has lost his jobs as the overseer of a cotton plantation, a Confederate Army officer, and a Ku Klux Klan leader. He is adrift and trying to clamor his way back into the middle class. He has virtually no redeeming qualities and I hate ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In short, this book is pretty much the complete opposite of "The Help."
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Store" is the second book in a trilogy by Tom (T.S.) Stribling.
It has a cast of wonderfully flawed characters and it reveals much about the practices in the South after the Civil War.

"The Store" was published in 1932 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1933.
Stribling was reviled by his townspeople ever after because they believed that Miltiades, the main character, who gained a foothold on wealth by cheating a man who had cheated his family 20 years earlier, was based on an actual merchant in the
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cindi by: Pat Kelley
Shelves: 2012-read

I'm not surprised the way black people were still being treated 20 years after the Civil War here. It's almost like nothing changed.
I know Governor O'Shawn's character was actually Governor O'Neal not much a stretch there. The streets he mentioned are all still here except Market Street and I think that's Court Street now but I'm not sure. BeShear's Crossroads may be Threet's Crossroads again I'm not sure about that. I've read that Roger's Dept store was suppose to be The Store but he
Roxanne Russell
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
This was a difficult book to read because it so matter-of-factly presents the racism of Reconstruction era Alabama. The recently freed slaves are little better off than they were before. As one character states: "The white people made the law to use for the white people." It might have been easier if I could think of it as a relic of the past, but as a native of Alabama and member of a large Alabama family, I know too well how these same attitudes still find places to linger.

The most surprising
Tracy Towley
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
The Store is the 2nd book in the T.S. Stribling Vaiden series. I've already reviewed the first book, The Forge, and most everything I have to say about this book was summed up in that review. The rating has been raised, as a result of the fact that I'm currently about 1,500 pages into the series and am nowhere near ready for it to be over. That's saying something.

One thing that was different in this book was that there was a new fat character, and apparently her entirely personality was that of
Jeff Stern
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
I've never read a book that makes me hate reading so much. This long miserable (Pulitzer Prize winning?!) book is perfect for you if you like casual racism and intricate plots about nothing.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
The Store by Thomas Sigismund (TS) Stribling won the Pulitzer in 1933 and is the 2nd in his Vaiden trilogy. This book takes place in November of 1884 as Grover Cleveland is being elected the first Democratic President since the Civil War. The book's main character is Miltiades (Milt) Vaiden a former Colonel in the Confederate Army and KKK member. In this book taking place some years after the first (the Forge) he is married and has no money. The book focuses on the post-war relations between the ...more
Barbara Bakken
Fantastic book -- completely surprised me.
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Set 20 years after the Civil War which freed the slaves of the plantations around Florence, Alabama, those living there are still trying to sort out the relationships and rights of both white and black residents. The Store explores love and loss, trust and betrayal, and the vagaries of reputation and fortunes of the Vaiden family, both the whites and the blacks of that name. The store itself is a dream of Colonel Miltiades Vaiden which, once achieved, is rarely again mentioned and unimportant in ...more
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the next of the Pulitzer winning novels that Steve and I are reading. Took some time to track this one down - our daughter finally located it for us in the Chicago Public Library. Although it seemed a bit slow at the beginning, we were soon caught up in the stories of the exquisitely drawn characters in this novel, placed in the post Civil War southern town of Florence, Alabama. The central character, Milt Vaiden, is followed throughout as you see a man who unlike most of the white citi ...more
Thank goodness I'm through this book. If you have any need to hear how former slaves were treated and spoken about, this book is for you. I haven't had to deal with hearing such language ever. It pains me to think that this was considered good contemporary fiction when published . It was a terribly cruel time and well documented by this novel
John Guffey
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
Gahhhh this was so unexpectedly good! I don't know how more people don't know about this book. It reminded me of Faulkner except the plot was better. The sheer hypocrisy outlined in this book is very engaging and hard to read a lot of times.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer-s
Wow....this was hard to get through. Can't tell if I am for M. Vaiden or not. I almost felt sorry for the man but in the end I am disgusted. I am still compelled to read the other 2 novels in this trilogy.
Finch Al Ali
made me think about my life.its a book i could read again and again
James Rosenzweig
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My final review can be found on my blog:
A complicated book.
Set in the days after the Civil War, when slavery had been abolished in name but remained a reality. Stribling doesn't pull any punches. He doesn't pretend that history was other than it was. There were several times when I literally put the book down because of how revolting it was.
This doesn't mean it wasn't a phenomenal book. Stribling makes it clear what his opinions are. His black characters have agency; they are nuanced and true. They are as significant to the plot as an
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Pulitzer Prize winner behind me. Tale of reconstruction South. It was interesting to hear the perceptions and thinking processes of those in the wake of the Civil War. Also interesting to explore the class distinctions and how they drove people.
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my pursuit of reading the Pulitzers, I purchased this gorgeous copy of T.S. Stribling's 1933 winner, The Store. I'm sure I spent quite a bit of money on it - it's leather-bound, gilt-edged, and has a ribbon bookmark - I'll be adding it to my permanent collection.

This book, the second in Stribling's trilogy, follows the further adventures of the Vaiden family, focusing specifically on Miltiades Vaiden. It is now post-Reconstruction in Florence, Alabama. Milt hasn't made much of himself since h
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzers-read
As for superior writing, I wouldn't rank this 1933 Pulitzer winner for fiction among the best. But it was an enjoyable read and its themes were complex and prodding enough to merit some accolades. Even still, I gave the book a four-star ranking for two reasons, the first having to do with the merits of the book itself and the second for its sociological value: (1) though it was not the work of a literary genius, it has very few, if any, discernible flaws. It's solid, though basic. (2) I found it ...more
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
As the cover suggests, this truly is a stirring novel. I expected a dull, tedious story about The Old South and a lot of mean-spirited whippings. Instead, I found myself engrossed in this tale that, although would never be published today, fascinated me with its characters and plot.

Colonel Miltiades Vaiden puzzled me. Should I hate him because he thought black people (referred to by a different name in this) were inferior and that he still felt a sense of ownership of them? Or should I love him
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Quotes I liked and remembered to record:
"Happiness of any kind is like a will o' the wisp, our very motion toward it causes it to float away." - Colonel Miltiades Vaiden

Novels are written the way people wish life could be lived, Sydna, not as things really happen." - Colonel Miltiades Vaiden

To Gracie, standing at the gate, the last illumination in the west seemed to be a doorway leading into vast chambers of light wherein Mr. Handback and all the innumerable dead awaited the rolling u
Jun 19, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can count on one hand the number of books I have picked up and not finished. This was one of them.
I was interested in the first place because The Store won the Pulitzer in 1933. Stribling may have presented an accurate picture of the awful treatment of former slaves and their children, but the rampant misogyny and terrible racism were just too painful for me to continue reading. I got about halfway through the book, and I admit that I didn't reach the point where I could decide whether the aut
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, the second in Stribling's trilogy, follows the further adventures of the Vaiden family, focusing specifically on Miltiades Vaiden. It is now post-Reconstruction in Florence, Alabama. Milt hasn't made much of himself since his days as a Civil War hero and local leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Milt is still rankled by what he perceived as a local store owner's "theft" of cotton from the family, and he sets out to get the family's rightful property (or the money owed them therefrom) back fro ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
This is another Pulitzer winner that I had some issues tracking down-- which surprised me, because it was actually pretty good.
I definitely liked it better than the first book in this trilogy, The Forge, and even though Miltaides isn't a very nice person, I was all intrigued to see what happened next. I also feel like this book was a little racy for its time, especially when it came to language -- I learned new racist terms I hadn't ever heard before. o_0
50 States and at least 50 Authors 2016. TENNESSEE.

I must surmise that those who create the lists of banned books are unaware of this tome! Apparently, in its time this was an award winner. Slow to begin, the book did improve, however, it stops rather abruptly. Set in Alabama not long after the end of the Civil War when poor whites have few rights and negroes have none, the language reflects that time as does the plot.
Lynn Derks
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a kind-of more honest Gone With The Wind. It takes place in 1880s Florence, Alabama. The protagonist is a former Confederate Colonel, Miltiades Vaiden. Very well written. Numerous twists and turns. A lot of heart. A surprising - and disturbing - ending.
Sherry Schwabacher
I find myself thinking about this book more and more. Not "stirring", as claimed on the cover, but "revealing". Stribling seems more like Jane Austen in his insights than Margaret Mitchell. I think this is an important book and worth reading.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-novel
a very interesting view of post-reconstruction time in the south. looking at the times from today's view, it is interesting to see how the south developed into the civil rights movement in the 60's.
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Tackling the Puli...: The Store (T.S. Stribling, 1933) 5 15 Dec 23, 2018 08:22PM  
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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 Forge
  • Unfinished Cathedral