Character and Crime

An Inquiry into the Causes of the Virtue of Nations


Writing as a philosopher, not as a social scientist, the author takes a radically different approach to the study of criminality, asking not 'what are the causes of crime?' but 'what are the causes of virtue?' Novak concentrates on what builds character and why there is a serious lack of character in our culture and society today.

Originally Published: 1986


“Standing squarely in the Great Tradition in which Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas figure so prominently, Novak rejects as oversimplified and dangerous both the pessimistic account of human nature given by Hobbes and the romantic account offered by Rousseau…. First published in 1986, [Character and Crime] was a timely book then, and it is a timely book now, after the turn of the millennium.”

Edwin J. Delattre

“In this remarkable book, Novak cogently makes the connection between the cultivation of character and national virtue–which, of course, gets to the heart of the issue. … I view this book as a monumental contribution to the quest for answers to the vexing problems of crime and punishment; it is must reading for those in the field.”

Charles W. Colson
Prison Fellowship Ministries