Integrity -- all of us are in favor of it, but body seems to kw how to make sure that we get it. From presidential candidates to crusading journalists to the lords of collegiate sports, everybody promises to deliver integrity, yet all too often the promises go unfulfilled. In this thoughtful book, Stephen Carter, whose 1993 book The Culture of Disbelief changed the way we talk about the role of religion in American life, turns his critical eye to the mystery of why the virtue of integrity holds such sway over the American political imagination. Why do we care more about winning than about playing by the rules? What are our rules about following the rules? What are our rules about breaking them? He explains why integrity is first in importance among the elements of good character, as well as why it is so hard to attain. By weaving together insights from philosophy, theology, history, and law, along with examples drawn from current events and a dose of personal experience, Carter offers a vision of integrity that has implications for everything from marriage and politics to professional football. He discusses the difficulties involved in trying to legislate integrity as well as the possibilities for teaching it. Like Carter's earlier books, Integrity is at once provocative and witty, sober and inspiring. The first in a trilogy of books on the most important elements of the character of the good citizen, Integrity presents a frank examination of the national mood and concludes that unless we find ways to place integrity at the center of both our private and public lives, the American idea may crumble -- and the greatness of our democracy along with it.
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law Stephen L Carter