Japanese the Spoken Language Review
Oft maligned due to its age and use of a custom romaji, Jordan & Noda's dense program offers new learners substantial advantages in speaking the language IF they follow Jordan's "speech first"-method and avoid focusing on the (admittedly slightly bizarre) romaji spelling.
Some weak points might be the complete lack of kanji study, and the somewhat limited vocabulary.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very strong grammar explanations
No other beginner textbook comes even close. The failure of several competing books in this category drives the popularity of supplemental books like the Dictionary of Basic/Intermed Japanese Grammar.
Pro The strong focus on speaking the language is rewarded
The conversation-memorization, reinforced with variation drills teaches the student to respond to real conversations at far above the "stuttered single words" level of the average new learner.
Con Uses "JSL-style" romaji
Although Jordan explains her reasoning early in the introduction, some learners are put off by both the use of romaji and the use of a customized (pronunciation-focused) form of romaji.