War, steamboats and politics were in the air in 1832. Lincoln had been captain in charge of men fighting the Black Hawks. But that wasn't enough to win his first campaign for the state legislature of Illinois. He lost the election, went into partnership with shiftless William Berry, ran again in 1934. By the time he left for Vandalia, the store had gone bankrupt. And Ann Rutledge had died of fever. (The author places less importance on the Rutledge-Lincoln romance than many versions do.) In this account Mary Owens makes the deeper impression. This latest volume is the fourth narrative devoted to Lincoln. It shows the surveyor, the postmaster, the Indian fighter, in New Salem, studying law, and projects his romance with Mary Todd as a struggle against the opposition of her family. It requires careful reading but it gives a sequential picture of the middle years, the learning years.