Pendulum: Leon Foucault and the triumph of science
In France in the 19th century, science recieved considerable state support - official scientists had high status, and Aczel emphasises the problems of an outsider like Foucault. However, many biographers present a similar story for their subjects, and since Foucault had the support of Napoleon III for a significant amount of his work, many people might consider him fortunate in that respect.
As well as the story of Foucault himself, the reader learns about other French scientists who are not so well known, such as Francois Arago. We also get a lesson on the history of France in the mid 19th century - the rise (and subsequent fall) of the Second Empire of Napoleon III. But this is not a boring history book - it is well written and keeps the interest of the reader throughout. Indeed I would say that it is Aczel's best book to date.