Naming Names, by Victor S. Navasky. New York: Penguin Books. 482 pp. $5.95

A significant study of the congressional 'investigation'' into the political rectitude of the film industry and nation-at-large - which includes events that both precede and follow the career of Wisconsin demagogue, Joseph McCarthy. Navasky has created a ''moral detective story'' that reveals through probing interviews the House Un-American Activities Committee's sordid history.

Ultimately what was at stake was the quality of trust - personal, and social - without which no society can survive. Navasky characterizes name-naming as a ''degradation ceremony,'' the moral price a victim pays for readmittance to the tribe. Such rites expose something about a society which it aspires to disclaim, and this may be the reason that 30 years later we still are haunted by those events.

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