The year 2020 marked the anniversary not only of what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday but also the 40th anniversary of his death in New York.

Understanding John Lennon takes us back to where it all began.  While other writers have only touched on the ‘cause’ of John’s genius, Francis Kenny reveals its roots in the post-war nature of Liverpool, John’s family with its complex history, and the pain and hurt John felt during his childhood, revealing how his early life experiences shaped his brilliance as a songwriter and musician.

Of all the books on The Beatles, this is the only one by an author who was himself born and raised under the same influences as the band’s, in the heart of Liverpool and still lives there. From the maritime nature of the city to its blue-collar background and the Irish heritage of its people, this book provides an insight into post-war Liverpool and John’s family life, which gave rise to his brilliant but conflicted nature and traces how this ultimately contributed to the fall of The Beatles.

Covering Lennon’s life from Liverpool to New York, Kenny writes with sympathetic understanding of the confusion, pain and corrosiveness that can, at times, accompany the demands and expectations of the creative process at its highest level. With new material revealing the real source of inspiration of ‘Strawberry Fields’, we are provided with a thought-provoking insight into a complex mind and a genius in the making.

Whilst most books regurgitate the same stories about John’s childhood and his time with The Beatles, this book presents an original insight into the founder of a band that was at the forefront of a social and cultural revolution. It is the only work to reveal the true sources of John’s genius which continues to leave an enduring imprint on our everyday life and imagination.

Our books are available in the US and Canada through bookshops or direct from Independent Publishers Group .


Author Details
Francis Kenny, after spending 20 years in the construction industry in the UK and abroad, was awarded a degree by Liverpool University and went on to obtain MAs in Social Policy, Urban Regeneration and Screenwriting while teaching in special education and the social sciences. With extensive research into The Beatles spanning a lifetime, he published his first novel, Waiting for The Beatles in 2006, including an associated screenplay and television work, followed by The Making of John Lennon in 2014. In Understanding John Lennon, he takes a deeper look into the formative influences in John Lennon’s life.

You can read more about Francis Kenny on his author page.


Understanding John Lennon has been recommended by Katherine Wootton, Yours magazine in their article called “The making of a dreamer”, 6th October 2020.

Talk Radio Europe interviewed the author, Francis Kenny on the 9th of October 2020. You can listen to it here:

Topping their list of book suggestions for Christmas, national monthly magazine Choice recommends Francis Kenny’s Understanding John Lennon : “marking the 80th Anniversary of the ex-Beatles birth, Understanding John Lennon tears away the many layers of myth that have accumulated around Lennon by focusing on his early years in Liverpool and the people and places that formed him.”
Choice Magazine, November 2020 issue.