The B&N Podcast: Preet Bharara Makes Justice a Verb

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

Preet Bharara has had an almost unique career — As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he served one of the nation’s most zealous prosecutors fighting public corruption, civil rights violations and terrorism. After leaving that office in 2017 Bharara he launched what became a meteorically popular podcast, Stay Tuned with Preet — talking legal, political and cultural issues with a fascinating array of guests and bringing a blend of serene, clarifying rigor and gentle humor to listener questions about the law. Now he’s added bestselling author to his resume with the publication of Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law –a book that’s not so much a memoir as it is a fascinatingly detailed, wide-ranging reflection on how lessons and stories from the world of the courtroom can shed light on the challenges we face as a nation and a community. Just before Doing Justice released, Preet Bharara sat down with Barnes & Noble’s Miwa Messer for a conversation about the book, and why, for Bharara, justice is not a noun, but a verb.

By the one-time federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, an important overview of the way our justice system works, and why the rule of law is essential to our society. Using case histories, personal experiences and his own inviting writing and teaching style, Preet Bharara shows the thought process we need to best achieve truth and justice in our daily lives and within our society.

Preet Bharara has spent much of his life examining our legal system, pushing to make it better, and prosecuting those looking to subvert it. Bharara believes in our system and knows it must be protected, but to do so, we must also acknowledge and allow for flaws in the system and in human nature.

The book is divided into four sections: Inquiry, Accusation, Judgment and Punishment. He shows why each step of this process is crucial to the legal system, but he also shows how we all need to think about each stage of the process to achieve truth and justice in our daily lives.

Bharara uses anecdotes and case histories from his legal career—the successes as well as the failures—to illustrate the realities of the legal system, and the consequences of taking action (and in some cases, not taking action, which can be just as essential when trying to achieve a just result).

Much of what Bharara discusses is inspiring—it gives us hope that rational and objective fact-based thinking, combined with compassion, can truly lead us on a path toward truth and justice. Some of what he writes about will be controversial and cause much discussion. Ultimately, it is a thought-provoking, entertaining book about the need to find the humanity in our legal system—and in our society.

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Author photo of Preet Bharara (c) Alex Layman.