Ladefoged is one of the world's best phonetics teachers, and this book does not disappoint. Phonetics is by nature a practical science, where listening, identifying and describing speech sounds (and the ability to produce them, as well!) are key skills. Because of this, you might wonder how you could really learn them from a book. The answer is that Ladefoged explains things so well, you'll find yourself practicing all sorts of new sounds within minutes of opening the book.
He starts off in the first chapter by describing the vocal tract and the place and ways that we produce sounds. The second chapter discusses phonetic and phonological transcription, and introduces the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Chapters 3, 4 and 5 deal with English: vowels, consonants and words and sentences (respectively). The next chapter deals with phonation types and airstream mechanisms. The seventh chapter looks at place and manner of articulation. Chapter 8 gives a basic introduction to acoustic phonetics, including spectrogram analysis. Chapter 9 looks more at vowels, and then at vowel-like articulations. The tenth chapter considers syllables and other suprasegmental features. Chapter 11 deals with linguistic phonetics, looking into how phonetics makes languages the way they are (ultimately relating to language change).
In each of these chapters, Ladefoged assumes nothing more than a good command of English and an basic awareness of the major differences between American and British English, and teaches you everything. Experiences with other languages is useful, and his approach uses English primarily as teaching reference rather than a focus. The IPA is used from the beginning, and the front and back inside cover are devoted to its chart. There are exercises at the end of each chapter, including "production exercises", giving you a chance to practice and learn all of the concepts previously discussed. In short, the book is excellent and I cannot recommend it more highly.