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Oklahoman book review: 'Doing Justice' champions the rule of law


"Doing Justice" by Preet Bharara (Alfred A. Knopf, 345 pages, in stores)

The rule of law is clearly explained and powerfully championed in this famous crime fighting prosecutor's timely and inspiring tome.

As U.S. Attorney for the steamy hot Southern District of New York, the author won celebrated convictions of top Democratic and Republican politicians, bankers, mobsters, white collar financiers and even a cannibal cop who ate his victims.

While the book dips into actual cases, its greater values are plainly explained lessons about justice, fairness and the bedrock of civilization: The Rule of Law.

In this reviewer's four score and seven years on earth, with stints as a journalist and a political operative, I never before have seen or read about attacks on the rule of law such as the ones that are common today.

The law is wrongly and ruthlessly challenged by everyone from Washington officials to American voters. Leaders and voters need to sober up.

Heeding Bharara's common sense messages is vital for citizens who prize freedom, those who support meaningful justice.

Lawyers and law students also will find the book a guidepost and an enriching definer of why sensible humans make and obey laws.

Each page delivers powerful messages. Bharara gives easy-to-read explanations and reasons for common sense support of rules that were written into laws by legislators elected by the people. He notes that most bad laws have a way of being kicked off the books in America by court challenges.

To keep readers alert, Bharara injects ample humor and first-hand experiences in and out of court rooms and far beyond.

Bharara doesn't pull punches. As a prosecutor, he lived to win but not at the expense of justice and truth, he writes. He abhors errors by enforcers. He plainly states that “not guilty” is not the equivalent of "innocent." Mistakenly indicted or convicted citizens are blemished even if they win their cases in court.

An immigrant born in India but naturalized in the U.S. in 1980, Bharara was a U. S. district attorney from 2009 to 2017. Time magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world. He earned the slot.

— Joseph H. Carter Sr., for The Oklahoman