The Man from Plains continues his admirable post-White House literary career (An Outdoor Journal, 1988, etc.) with a blow-by-blow account of his first run for office, in 1962. It's not quite Robert Penn Warren meets Frank Capra, but close enough, as a wet-eared newcomer pits his goodwill and little else against the corrupt local Democratic machine. Carter, a 38-year-old peanut farmer and liberal integrationist, doesn't know what he's up against when he makes a bid for the Georgia state senate against an incumbent controlled by good-ole-boy segregationist Joe Hurst. But the "Coons and Carters Go Together" signs should have tipped Carter off: 1962 is the year of the Supreme Court's bombshell one-man, one-vote decision, and the whites-only crowd--which controls every important political office in the state--doesn't cotton to new southerners--like Carter--who refuse to join the neighborhood White Citizens Council. After a glance at his family history--his father was a segregationist but his mother, the beloved Miss Lillian, befriended blacks--Carter plunges into memories of the primary campaign, a two-week affair that culminates in a blatantly rigged election. Boss Hurst bullies voters in the booth and tears up ballots he doesn't like. What's more, it seems that the good citizens voted in alphabetical order, and that the local graveyard contributed its share of ballots. An outraged Carter challenges, but the party machine ignores his complaints. Then a crusading reporter and a wily attorney get on the case, the results are reversed, Carter wins the nomination and the general election, and heads for the White House. Justice triumphs moat satisfyingly here, with enough cliffhangers to keep readers glued. Carter, who looks better with each passing year, tacks on an appendix describing the Atlanta Project, his ambitious program to help the urban poor.