Kanji in Context is a three part series of books designed to teach the 1945 kanji for everyday use alongside college level vocabulary and speaking patterns. This book is the reference volume: it lists the 1945 kanji in its own order and provides several vocabulary words with definitions in English of each.
What sets this book apart is that it orders the kanji by shape (radical), so you are able to learn the kanji that are easily confused together. In addition, since you are learning by the radical, most of the common radicals have a set on (Chinese) reading, so you are able to memorize the readings of several kanji at once. This saves a lot of trouble in the long run, and helps you read more like native Japanese speakers- you may not be able to remember exactly which kanji goes with which compound off the top of your head (and the book won't help much with writing the
kanji, either), but you will be able to recall the reading.
Also, the vocabulary in the reference book are listed in order of frequency and importance, and difficult vocabulary with rare readings are clearly marked. If you use this book in conjunction with memory software such as Mnemosyne (like I did), you can learn all of the kanji in about half of a year.
This is a very different approach than Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" series. Whereas Heisig teaches one how to write the kanji, "Kanji in Context" focuses on reading adult level material.
I'm only giving this book four stars because it's not nearly as useful without the workbooks, which include all of the example sentences (the "context") in the series. If your Japanese is already really good, you can skip this book and just use the workbooks, but despite its expense I still think it's a worthwhile reference.
The series assumes you know at least 300 kanji to begin with, but the grammar and vocabulary are sufficiently advanced that I think it is probably suitable only for students with two or more years of college level Japanese.