It is little surprising that the authors expect a lot from the student, as learning Russian demands astute and enduring study. We covered this textbook and the second in the series in roughly 18 weeks.
Each chapter begins with two passages, and the accompanying vocabulary list to guide the student through each text. Then comes the grammar which, I feel, is explained lucidly and structured appropriately throughout the textbook.
My only criticisms are: The CD's only bear recordings of the second text in each unit (and some additional exercises), which I found to be a shame; and the oversimplification of some grammar points.
If you're motivated enough to learn Russian, then this is a very good place to start.