The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology by Simon Winchester
I considered dropping this book at the half way point. I'd already begun skimming, which is never a good sign. I decided to continue skimming to the end, in case Winchester returned to the story of William Smith and his map. He did, but I skimmed that, too. It just was not that interesting.
The information known about Smith would have made a very good magazine article. He was a remarkable man, and the map, the first geologic map of an entire nation, England, an amazing feat. However, not enough is known about him to write a book. Winchester filled out his book with descriptions of the geology of England, rants against the church standing in the way of science, unconnected stories about other geologists and fossil hunters of Smith's day, and a chapter about how mean the nuns were to him on kindergarten field trips (which may explain the earlier rants about the church). In other words, there is a lot to skim through to follow the story of Smith.