PositiveThe New York TimesStevens, a critic, and Swan, a journalist, both with many years of experience in the art world, have done deep research, but they don\'t push it in our faces. We hear arguments among painters and critics and the street buzz about the development of Abstract Expressionism. But de Kooning\'s persistence as an outsider to almost any theory or definition -- he called theory \'baloney\' -- sharpens our understanding of the era ... One of the great strengths of this book is its sense of an artist in his studio. At times the authors disappear, and rather than just read about de Kooning we watch him apply paint, scrape it off and attack again, trace sections of a painting and pin them on other parts to see how they work, stare at pictures for hours, destroy canvases, fly into rages of frustration and fling furniture about ... throughout this sweeping history there runs one of the most elusive love stories of the last century. Stevens and Swan weave it into their account as it occurred chronologically, but it stands out in the mind as floating above everything else. It is the story of de Kooning and the only woman his friends thought he ever fell in love with, the only one he married, Elaine...Here Elaine comes out as a very different person than all the popular versions. The book\'s take on her is right; her personality was larger than life, like de Kooning\'s.