More than any other town in New Hampshire, Derry has changed dramatically over the last thirty years. Gone are the fields, the forests, and the fine old homes, and in their place stand malls, modern housing developments, and multi-lane highways. It is difficult now to imagine the scene in 1719 when a small group of Scottish pioneers laid claim to the New Hampshire wilderness, building a meetinghouse close to a young oak tree. The town of Derry grew up around this site, and for nearly ten generations the oak stood as a respected presence within the community, symbolizing Derry's strength of purpose and proud traditions.
Richard Holmes is the author of Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer; Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer; Dr. Johnson & Mr. Savage; Shelley: The Pursuit (for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award); Coleridge: Early Visions; and Coleridge: Darker Reflections (a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). He lives in England.