William Schryver commenting on Richard Bushman's RSR:http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/58006-
By and large, I thought Rough Stone Rolling was a satisfactory biography of Joseph Smith. That said, I am of the opinion that, in many cases--and unnecessarily so--Bushman pandered to the critics of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church. Or, if he was not intentionally pandering to the critics, he holds to some views of Joseph Smith that I believe to be manifestly false, and he incorrectly interprets some events in Joseph Smith's history, such that Rough Stone Rolling can definitely be a faith-eroding book in the hands of those whose knowledge and understanding of LDS Church history is deficient in certain respects.
That Rough Stone Rolling is considered by many to be, at this date, the "definitive" biography of Joseph Smith is, in my judgment, more a commentary on the mediocrity of its competitors than it is a valid assessment of the relative quality of the work itself.
I would like to point out that Richard Bushman is a Harvard-educated historian who has dedicated large portions of his career to studying the life of Joseph Smith. Bushman was a department chair at the University of Delaware, and has taught at BYU and is an emeritus professor at Columbia, who along with his lovely wife Claudia, taught a class on contemporary Mormonism at Columbia/UTS this past semester. Bushman has published dozens of of peer-reviewed articles and several books from highly-respected academic presses.
Just sayin'' .....