Strange Journey: John R. Friedeberg Seeley and the Quest for Mental Health

Strange Journey: John R. Friedeberg Seeley and the Quest for Mental Health

from 32.95

Paul Roberts Bentley

Series: North American Jewish Studies
ISBN: 9781644690499 (hardcover) / 9781644690505 (paper)
Pages: approx. 260 pp.
Publication Date: February 2020


This biographical history follows the iconoclastic career of John R. Friedeberg Seeley, pre-eminent “Pop Sociologist” and Mental Health Activist of the 1950s. Seeley’s “strange journey” began as a British Home Child, estranged from his cosmopolitan German-Jewish family. Seeley progressed through the ranks of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and the University of Chicago, to achieve prominence as the author of Crestwood Heights, a defining work of postwar social science. He led an ambitious mental health project in Canadian schools, and was a founding father of York University. However, Seeley’s struggle with mental illness and Jewish identity brought him into conflict with the Canadian establishment. His career ended in academic exile, but his dream of a mental health revolution still resonates.

Paul Roberts Bentley holds an MSc. (Econ) in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and an Ed. D. in the History and Philosophy of Education from the University of Toronto. He has worked as a History Teacher and Head of Department in Ontario High Schools for over 25 years.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. There Was a Mother in Israel
2. Home Child
3. From Civilian to Fighting Man
4. Pop Sociology
5. Mental Health for Canada
6. The Transmission of Anti-Semitism
7. The Cold White Light of Detachment
8. Free Discussion
9. Anti-Semitic Segregation
10. Film Noir
11. Unorthodox Psychoanalysis
12. Nazi Terror
13. Nervous Breakdown
14. The Unpublished Version of Crestwood Heights
15. Waspish Tone
16. Jewish Tempers in the Village
17. The Flash
18. Uprising at York University