cover image Integrity


Stephen L. Carter. Basic Books, $24 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-465-03466-6

When we talk about character, writes Yale law professor Carter (The Culture of Disbelief), integrity ``is in some sense prior to everything else''; thus his mix of anecdote and meditation is a worthy but quirky entree to an important yet hard-to-discuss subject. Integrity, he writes, is more than honesty--it requires actions and a willingness to spurn conformity. After his conceptual musings, Carter addresses the role of integrity in performance evaluations (he avoids routine hyperbole), in journalistic objectivity (he thinks the press should apply to itself the standards it applies to others), in law and in sports. Carter virtually ignores the broad question of integrity in business, but he does have interesting, if sometimes convoluted, thoughts on the role of integrity in marriage. He advises caution in legislating integrity in speech or in politics; his arguments spill over, somewhat overambitiously, into suggesting how integrity can help clean up politics (``We must listen to one another'') and how the concept can help people face larger questions of evil. $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Mar.)