The Sun Kings
William Herschel was a keen observer of the sun and found a correlation between large numbers of sunspots and high wheat prices, suggesting that sunspots could influence Earth's climate - but this just resulted in ridicule. His son John became involved in another important piece of the puzzle, the measurement of the Earth's magnetic field. As the title suggests, much of the book looks at the work of Richard Carrington, who did regular solar observation, and in September 1859 saw a large solar flare coming from within a sunspot. Despite the fact there was disruption to telegraph communication and huge aurorae at the same time, many people still dismissed the connection as fanciful. Clark goes on to describe the work of E W Maunder, how the effects of solar activity eventually came to be accepted, and how there might indeed be something in Herschel's correlation of wheat prices and sunspots - with an unexpected link to cosmic rays.
The book also describes the politics behind the astronomy, illustrating the transition from the grand amateur to the professional astronomer. It's a well written book and doesn't require any previous knowledge of the subject. I found it to be a highly enjoyable read.