The Forge is the first book in the Vaiden Trilogy by award-winning Alabama author T. S. Stribling. Originally published in 1931, The Forge introduces the Vaiden family, residents of the rural north Alabama of Stribling’s own youth. The Vaidens are a family of white yeoman farmers who scratch out a living in the social and financial shadow of the Lacefields, masters of an opulent plantation nearby.
The novel opens on Alabama’s secession and the onset of the Civil War. It traces the story of Miltiades Vaiden, who enlists in the Confederate army, and explores the ways the Vaidens, Lacefields, and freed slaves attempt to adapt to the collapse of southern society on the home front.
After The Forge, Stribling continued the Vaiden saga in 1932 with The Store, which earned him the Pulitzer Prize. He completed the trilogy in 1934 with The Unfinished Cathedral. Together, the three books paint a portrait of the agrarian South of the mid-nineteenth century, its destruction, and the beginnings of a mercantile future.