What it is is a gateway drug to serious computing, including compiler construction.
However, let me just come back to your point that stack discipline is necessary for control structures and non-local transfer of control.
Well, that depends on the execution model of the machine, and I would say explicit stacks are a performance hack, made to model the mathematical concepts of closure and application.
Sorry, I had to remove my wordy examples explaining "Scope and Extent", and how they can be represented with environment pointers, and heap allocated activation records.
TODO: Point yet again to the "3 Implementations of Scheme" paper, Scheme being the cleanest Algol variant this side of modern computing.
Then I found this:
I was reacting to this statement you made, "Few chapters of a Lisp book will spare you volumes of traditional compiler construction techniques".
S. P. Jones' text was more interesting. I also like "Modern Compiler Design" (http://www.cs.vu.nl/~dick/MCD.html), which covers imperative/oop programs as well as logical and functional paradigms.