The title of this book is most apt. Singer presents his view of ethics by considering practical situations that may present moral dilemmas. He arranges the chapters so as to provide progressive examples in which he puts forward a coherent, if in places controversial, approach to ethical behaviour. Chapter headings are:
1. About Ethics
2. Equality and its Implications
3. Equality for Animals?
4. What's Wrong with Killing?
5. Taking Life: Animals
6. Taking Life: The Embryo and the Fetus
7. Taking Life: Humans
8. Rich and Poor
9. Insiders and Outsiders
10. The Environment
11. Ends and Means
12. Why Act Morally?
Appendix: On Being Silenced in Germany
For me Singer's style isn't always easy to read. Of course one expects somehwat convoluted sentences in philosophy books but it could, IMO, benefit from an effort to tidy up the worst specimens. Apart from that, given the task that the author sets himself, the overall balance of the book is IMO nicely judged.
As to Singer's ethical position, I have my doubts. His concept of ethical personhood is made to bear, IMO, more than it reasonably can. It distinguishes between sentience and self-awareness and accords a self-aware being greater ethical consideration than a purely sentient one. He could, IMO, make stronger arguments for his positions from the Bhuddist principle that ethical behaviour is that which tends to reduce the suffering of any sentient beings. To my mind this makes many of his arguments in Chapters 4 to 7 open to significant criticism.
He mentions Hare's concepts of intuititive and critical ethics but does not develop them. This, to my mind, is unfortunate, especially in chapters 8 and 9, where the ethical questions he discusses are clouded by the practical difficulty that an ethical agent has in deciding what the likely consequences of his actions will be in a complex society with a developed economy. The discussion of the economic aspects of ethics in these chapters is, IMO, too lightweight to be very helpful.
The Appendix on hostility to Singer's views in German-speaking Europe is a curious inclusion. It adds nothing to the exposition of his ethics but does provide an interesting contemporary account of how some societies are still thinking about ethical issues by reaction to the ills of Nazism.
The book's focus on well known ethical questions makes it an accessible introduction to ethics. Considered as such, I think it deserves a 5-star rating. Its omissions, notably that of any reference to existentialist ethics, make it less satisfactory as a philosophical exposition - but then that is not it's purpose.