An interesting and very well-structured book on the 19th-century researchers who invented the idea of predicting the weather. I don't mean that the put the notion on a scientific basis; if Peter Moore is correct, the idea that weather could be predicted at all was a novel invention. (One fellow was laughed at in Parliament for saying, in the 1850s, that it might be possible to forecast London's weather a full day in advance.)
Moore wisely keeps his cast of characters down to a manageable size, focusing particularly on Robert FitzRoy. FitzRoy is usually remembered, in the unlikely event that he is remembered at all, as the captain who brought Charles Darwin on board HMS Beagle, and who later denounced natural selection as atheistic. It turns out that there's a great deal more to his story than that. It doesn't hurt that many of the other actors were equally colorful and interesting personalities.
My only substantive complaints are:
1. I would have liked a little more actual scientific nitty-gritty. That, I presume, would not be to everyone's taste.
2. There's a substantial portion of an early chapter devoted to one of my favorite painters, John Constable--specifically, to how he painted his wonderful cloudscapes.
(Image hosted at Wikimedia)
It's a great aside, but still, it's an aside. It interrupts the narrative to no special purpose. It could have either been left out, or made into a book of its own!
An obvious crossover read is Richard Holmes's terrific The Age of Wonder. More tightly focused in subject matter is Tracks in the Sea, by Chester Hearn.