The criticisms of this classic text basically stem from a single misconception, which is that it is intended to be a primary source for a self-study course in life contingencies for the CAS/SOA Exam 3L/MLC. There exist study manuals that are better suited for the purpose of passing the exam. The true purpose of this text is to supply a comprehensive and rigorous mathematical treatment of life contingencies, including topics that are not tested on the exam.
Can you use it to study for the exam? Absolutely. Is it especially time-efficient to do so? For most candidates, probably not. But if you do use it, and you have the mathematical background and computational skill to work through the exercises (which sometimes greatly exceed the difficulty of any question you would be expected to encounter on the exam), then you are virtually guaranteed to not only pass, but to do extremely well. This is precisely because the authors approach the subject from its mathematical foundations, and do not waste effort trying to dumb it down nor give results without proof. If you have a firm grasp of probability theory, interest theory, and calculus, you will appreciate this book for its depth and rigor, and will admire the subject for its mathematical beauty and applicability. If you are just looking to pass the exam, then you will fail to appreciate what this text offers.