I finally finished it, the mother of all Joseph Smith biographies. There has been more than enough posted on RSR the last several months, so I'll just make a few summary comments rather than attempt a longer review. Rough Stone Rolling will certainly be the authoritative biography of Joseph for many years to come. They ought to make it the Priesthood/RS manual next year. It is a book that anyone who takes Joseph Smith seriously should read. In the following paragraphs, I will note just a few things I really enjoyed about the book.
Balance. RSR gives both sides of disputed issues, although readers should be aware that discussions of many controversial points are lodged in the footnotes rather than the text. Bushman quotes from a variety of Signature Books publications, such as Van Wagoner's Sidney Rigdon and Marquardt's The Joseph Smith Revelations, a welcome if indirect endorsement for a publisher whose authors often attract controversy and sometimes find themselves on the receiving end of LDS courts of love.
Context. Bushman isn't just a scholar of Joseph Smith or of LDS history, he's a bona fide historian of the culture of antebellum America. This is evident in almost every chapter and infuses the narrative with previously unattained (in any JS biography) breadth and depth. He really did get to know Joseph in the context of his own time and rarely departed from that focus with modern equivalents of "and thus we see ..."
Notes and Bibliography. The footnotes are comprehensive and include many short comments or discussions that add important items not able to be integrated into the main text. The 40-page bibliography of sources cited is a fine resource as well.
Topical Blend. The presentation is chronological, but Bushman "themed" every chapter. As a result, he gave detailed coverage to a variety of interesting themes raised by various episodes in Joseph's life (e.g., "Translation" in chapter 3, "Cities of Zion" in chapter 11, and "Priesthood and Church Government" in chapter 13). Yet the narrative doesn't feel disconnected or seem to lurch from topic to topic. It's a smooth blend of topics and chronology.
No Apologies. While Bushman often portrays Joseph's words or actions in a favorable light, he doesn't act as an advocate or apologist, nor does he shy away or minimize Joseph's faults or mistakes. It's all in there. That approach bolsters Bushman's credibility for all readers, I think.
This is the first LDS biography of Joseph Smith that can really match Brodie's No Man Knows My History for scope and impact. Ironically, NMKMH was also published (in 1945) by Alfred A. Knopf. Now, any man or woman can know Joseph's history. While there are questions that even Bushman couldn't answer ("But where his powers came from is a mystery," from the second-to-the-last paragraph in the book, on page 560) this book is the best that can be done, I think. It should be in every Mormon's personal library.