Dennis Potter was born and brought up in the Forest of Dean- a 'strange and beautiful place', as he described it in the last interview before his death, 'rather ugly villages in beautiful landscape, a heart- shaped place between two rivers, somehow slightly cut off from the rest of England... with a people as warm as anywhere else, but they seemed warmer to me.' It was a childhood which informed all his television work, from his first documentary to such classic dramas as The Singing Detective.
The Changing Forest, first published in 1962, is Potter's deeply personal study of that small area- its people, traditions, ceremonies and institutions- at a time of profound cultural and social change in the late 1950s and early '60s. With extraordinary precision and feeling he describes the fabric of a world whose old ways are yielding to the new: habits altering; expectations growing; work, leisure, language itself changing under the impact of the new television, of commercial jingles and the early Elvis. And, with powerful sympathy and wit, he asks whether the gains of modernity have, for the individuals and society he so marvellously evokes, been worth the loss.
Part autobiography of one of this century's greatest writers, part elegy for a vanishing way of life, part testament to the abiding humanity that underlies all Potter's work, this exquisite, passionate and brillinat book is a classic of its kind.