This article is from 2006.
It takes a particular brand of academic naivety to hand out early draft copies of your 800-page manuscript to students before the book is even published, but that is exactly what popular British historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto did a couple of years ago. The manuscript was for his exhaustingly titled book The World: A Global History Volume II: Since 1300 and several weeks into the term, illegal copies of the book began appearing on internet file sharing service ZeroPaid. Bootleg copies of the work soon spread. While Fernández-Armesto realised his options were limited in fighting such piracy, various online watchdogs used his case as a notable example of the need for new copyright rules that tackled such academic excess as wanting to share your research with students.
56-year-old Armesto is a superdon. With more chairs and board seats in UK and US universities than you can shake AJP Taylor at, his output is phenomenal. The pick of the bunch are Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years and Food: A History which prove that Armesto belongs to that small but eminently smart group of commentators who make history vibrant and diseased at the same time. (Paul Dale)
20 Aug, 8pm, £8 (£6).