That was just the most outrageous example, but there are plenty more. But as far as I know it's the best book on the subject, and as "Luc" says in the other comment right now in this subthread, he doesn't oversimplify the science.
If you like that, for more of the same without a lot of fluff I'm finding The Magic Furnace by Marcus Chown to be wonderful, it's is a history of the elements. How we deduced the very existence of atoms thousands of years ago, then generally much more recently their nature, then how they came to come about (e.g. fusion in stars). Truly fantastic and rather tightly written, the fluff about the philosophers and scientists is generally only a sentence or three.
If you like both of those, as I recall, haven't read it since the '80s, George Gamow's 30 Years That Shook Physics ought to fill out the rest of the basic picture, focusing more on our friends the electrons, which is where almost all the action in chemistry happens, that's something these other two books don't cover in as much detail as the nucleus.
It wasn't like e.g. the Cambridge labs where so many critical experiments were done with such simple apparatus ... which got if anything less coverage outside of describing the experiments.
I suppose he found the story he told about the village too neat not to include in the book, but he or his editor should have had a little more restraint, it's pure noise. I shudder at imagining the size of the original manuscript....