Current Affairs and Journalism

Toby Green has written reviews and features for a wide range of media, ranging from book reviews of fiction by Isabel Allende to comment pieces for the Guardian, Prospect, the Sunday Express and Times Higher Education, feature essays for Aeon and History Today, and travel features for the Financial Times. He has also contributed comment pieces to a range of online media, including African Arguments, Compact, Culturico, The Wire and UnHerd.

Green wrote widely on the Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it. The first edition of his book The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality came out in spring 2021; and the coauthored second edition with Thomas Fazi, entitled The Covid Consensus: The Global Assault on Democracy and the Poor - A Critique from the Left, was published in January 2023. An archive with links of Toby Green's journalism, academic articles, and podcasts on the pandemic is available at the bottom of this webpage.

His recent features have appeared in outlets including Compact, New StatesmanPerspectivePersuasion, TRT Afrika, and UnHerd; and his criticism in the Daily Telegraph and the London Review of Books.

The Covid Consensus

Image: The Covid Consensus Jacket

The Covid Consensus takes an internationalist perspective and argues that the response to Covid-19 reveals irreconcilable contradictions in Western thought, with devastating consequences for the Global Poor and the poor and disadvantaged in Western societies. New research reveals new evidence as to the impetus behind the WHO's advice on lockdowns, and argues that the policies represented radical continuities of existing trends of inequality, mediatisation and surveillance that threaten the future of liberal democracies.

Toby Green has written widely about responses to Covid for a range of publications, as well as doing media interviews for BBC World Service Newshour and Weekend, LBC, Breaking Points podcast with Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky, Sky News Australia, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation's night-time news, The Grayzone News's Max Blumenthal on Rofkin, Times Radio, TNT World and Voice of Islam.

An archive of Toby Green's journalism, academic articles, and podcasts on the pandemic is available at the bottom of this webpage.

Coverage:
The 2nd edition of the book has been featured in discussion in the Guardian - the subject of 2 op-eds and a discussion in the letters page - in Compact Magazine (US), and in Contrepoints, France Soir, La Presse du Soir and QG Media (France). Beyond reviews around the world, the first edition of the book featured in critical discussion of the response to the pandemic in Clarin (Argentina), Dagbladet Information (Denmark), KlasseKampen (Norway), The Grayzone News (US), and The Spectator Australia.

Reviews of the 2nd edition:


"As Toby Green and Thomas Fazi note in their book, The Covid Consensus, the idea of entire countries being placed in lockdown was something entirely new...As they note, an aggressive form of authoritarian capitalism resulted in poor people everywhere suffering enormous losses while rich people everywhere became immeasurably richer." Larry Elliott, The Guardian, February 13th 2023


 


"An outstanding history of the present, that no other historian or journalist has written to this day." - African Arguments, February 21st 2023

"An important book" -- The Critic, February 28th 2023

"Lively, lucid and formidable" -- Fred Sculthorp, Perspective Magazine, March 15th 2023

"I couldn't have imagined how damning the data would become, as a new book by Toby Green and Thomas Fazi, The Covid Consensus, now makes clear" -- The Australian, April 17th 2023

"Toby Green and Thomas Fazi’s volume, The Covid Consensus, shows the extent of the devastation visited upon developing countries by the pandemic response" -- Muriel Blaive, The Review of Democracy, November 17th 2023


‘Makes an indelible mark … It is a book that will profoundly influence generations of scholars and practitioners. The brave and bold recommendations appended by the authors for a post-pandemic world have made this book even more significant for men and women of goodwill in an increasingly unequal world.’


—Olutayo Adesina, Professor of History, University of Ibadan


‘A thoroughly researched account of the global experience of the Covid pandemic.’



—Professor Robert Dingwall, member of UK SAGE




Reviews of the 1st edition:

A New Statesman "Best Book about the Covid-19 Pandemic"

'A brave and measured work: essential reading', El Pais, August 16th 2021

'A meticulously referenced, shocking catalogue of Western hypocrisy and the destruction wrought by global lockdowns on the poorest nations...a depressing tale of hubris, mindless groupthink and cynical power grabs by bureaucrats and governments, taking advantage of a “health crisis”" -- The Australian, July 6th 2021



"Picks apart the damage which has affected the world's states, both rich and poor, examining the level of catastrophe which has afflicted each one. [The book] concludes that we are not facing a normal form of crisis, but that the diagnosis is difficult owing to its complexity, and as it has occurred at a moment where the world is undergoing a major economic, political and cultural restructuring" -- Al-Ahram, February 15th 2022



'R
estrictions have disproportionately affected the young and poor. [This] unique take explores how these groups, often lacking the facility for remote work and with their education severely limited, are likely to experience staggering inequalities for years to come' -- New Statesman, July 29th 2021

'As [shown] in this book, the strategy judged to be the best for dealing with Covid-19 in the rest of the world is badly adapted and in fact counter-productive on the African continent" Le Monde, June 10th 2021

'A bracing polemic', London Review of Books, December 4th 2021

'Important...a valuable world perspective...[the] attention to worldwide effects, decentering the West, has distinct value,' Choice, January 2022

'An outstanding analysis of the regressive effects of lockdown policies, and the neocolonial dimension of their imposition on the Global South.' -- The Popular Show

'
Covid-19 is not Africa's biggest problem in terms of public health. [This book] shows that the strategy judged to be the most efficient in the rest of the world is probably inappropriate and may even be counterproductive for the African continent" Leeuwarder Courant, Netherlands, June 25th 

"A must-read book for those who are engaged in both anti-lockdown and pro-lockdown discourse. [It] will trigger some serious questions and arguments to ponder. It deals with intricate details regarding the development of the consensus...boldly stated with conviction." -- LSE Review of Books, February 17th 2022

"A refreshing and eye-opening read to the impacts of the response to the virus that have been carefully omitted from daily media coverage. Instead, it modestly critiques the policy decisions without joining the bandwagon of conspiracists and those with an opposing political agenda. ,,,it tackles this controversial issue skilfully, acknowledging the seriousness of the virus, whilst addressing the enormous socio-economic harms" -- Keele Law Review, Volume 3 (2021), 108-111

‘A thoughtful analysis of the forces and attitudes that unleashed lockdowns upon the global poor, with harrowing descriptions of the consequences.’ — Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology, University of Oxford

'An essential book to understand what lockdowns really mean for the poor worldwide' -- Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University



‘An excellent book at a critical time. Pandemics breed hysteria, to which the only cure is reason. This book is a masterly dose of reason, challenging, questioning and sceptical in the best sense of the word.’ — Simon Jenkins, author and columnist


‘Even in the face of viruses and death, some humans are still “more equal” than others. This book demonstrates it abundantly while challenging conventional wisdom on the pandemic and how to confront it.’ — Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, SOAS University of London


‘In a grave pandemic, what is the acceptable level of mortality risk relative to the damage to society, economy and poor countries from lockdowns? This searching scrutiny and anguished analysis of this dilemma is a much-needed corrective to simplistic slogans.’ — Ramesh Thakur, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations


‘An intellectual treat for critical thinkers who are watching the sunset of reason and feel that all that is essential is invisible to the eyes of many. This book sheds light on reason and makes the invisible visible.’ — Yossi Nehushtan, Professor of Law and Philosophy, Keele University


‘An admirably measured description of 2020’s immeasurable destruction, charting the shocking fallout from governments’ virus-suppression policies in the Global North and South. The Covid Consensus should be read by everyone who still believes that lockdowns save lives.’ — Sinead Murphy, Lecturer in Philosophy, Newcastle University


 

Opinion Pieces

Toby Green wrote a number of op-eds and features regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it in print and online media. A regular contributor about the pandemic to UnHerd (with over 30 pieces), he also wrote op-eds for publications including  African ArgumentsCulturico, History TodayNew Statesman, NewsAfrica, Prospect, the Sunday Express, and Times Higher EducationHe co-authored many of these articles, working with David Bell, Jay Bhattacharya, Carlos Cardoso, and Hassoum Ceesay, among others.

In November 2021 Green started collaborating with the Italian writer Thomas Fazi. Their initial piece for UnHerd, "The Left's Covid Failure" was translated into 10 languages, while their follow up "Has the Great Barrington Declaration Been Vindicated?" was discussed in El Mundo and the New York Post editorial pages. They subsequently wrote many further pieces together for UnHerd, and appeared in a number of joint podcasts -- as well as coauthoring the second edition of The Covid Consensus, published on January 5 2023.

In addition, Toby Green worked closely with Collateral Global to produce a series of films on Daily Life in Post-Pandemic Senegal, directed by Senegalese journalist Mamadou Ndiaye; and recording a number of podcasts, principally with colleagues in the Global South. 

Criticism

Toby Green wrote dozens of reviews for the Independent, and has also written criticism for the Daily TelegraphLondon Review of Books, History Today, Times Higher Education, and the TLS. He has reviewed books by, among others, David Abulafia, Tariq Ali, Isabel Allende, William Dalrymple, Jared Diamond, the late Eduardo Galeano, Francisco Goldman, John Gray, and Charles C. Mann. He has also interviewed writers including Ma Jian, and the late WG Sebald (republished alongside an interview by the late Susan Sontag in the Journal of European Studies).

Interview with WG Sebald:

WG Sebald

Review of Chocolate Islands by Catherine Higgs in the London Review of Books:

Chocolate Islands LRB

Book review of A Primer for Teaching African Historyby Trevor Getz:

Trevor Getz review

Review of 1493 by Charles C. Mann:

1493

Review of Pirates of the Caribbean by Tariq Ali:

Tariq Ali

Review of The Art of Political Murder by Francisco Goldman:

Francisco Goldman

To return to the home page, click here:

Archive of work on the Covid Pandemic


A complete list of Toby Green's academic and journalistic publications, and links to the podcasts and films follows.


Covid articles archive


UnHerd:


Western Lockdowns still Torment Africa; coauthored with Hassoum Ceesay, July 26th 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/07/western-lockdowns-still-torment-africa/


 


The False Lesson of Lockdown Scepticism: Increasing Corporate Power will Bring Disaster; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, May 17th 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/05/the-false-lesson-of-lockdown-scepticism/


 


75 Years on, the WHO has Forgotten its Roots, April 7th 2023: https://unherd.com/thepost/75-years-on-the-who-has-forgotten-its-roots/


 


Questions the Covid Inquiry Must Ask; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, February 18th 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/02/the-questions-the-covid-inquiry-must-ask/


 


Why are Excess Deaths Still so High?; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, January 30rd 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/01/why-are-excess-deaths-still-so-high/


 


Did the West Impose Austerity on Africa?, January 10th 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/01/did-the-west-impose-austerity-on-africa/


 


Why is the West Locking Down China? New Travel Restrictions Prove We’ve Learnt Nothing; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, January 4th 2023: https://unherd.com/2023/01/why-is-the-west-locking-down-china/


 


Did Bill Gates Write Joe Piden’s Pandemic Plan?, October 21st 2022: https://unherd.com/thepost/joe-bidens-pandemic-plan-or-bill-gatess/


 


The Myth of Lockdown Socialism; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, September 20th 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/09/the-myth-of-lockdown-socialism/


 


The Return of Covid Fearmongering; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, July 18th 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/07/the-return-of-covid-fearmongering/


 


The Unspoken Cause of the Sri Lanka Crisis: Lockdowns, July 13th 2022: https://unherd.com/thepost/the-unspoken-cause-of-the-sri-lanka-crisis-lockdowns/


 


Bill Gates Wants to Build a Dystopia, May 9th 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/05/bill-gates-wants-to-build-a-dystopia/


 


Don’t let the Lockdown Hawks Rewrite History, March 25th 2022: https://unherd.com/thepost/dont-let-the-lockdown-hawks-re-write-history/


 


Africa’s Food Crisis Predates the War in Ukraine, March 7th 2022: https://unherd.com/thepost/africas-food-crisis-pre-dates-the-war-in-ukraine/


 


Covid has Created a Capitalist Nightmare: Big Tech and Big Pharma are More Powerful than Ever, February 23rd 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/02/covid-has-created-a-capitalist-nightmare/


 


The Left-Wing Case Against Vaccine Mandates: The Shared Covid Rish is Being Outsources to Africa; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, January 28th 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/01/the-left-wing-case-against-vaccine-mandates/


 


The World’s Poorest Countries are Facing an Unprecedented Debt Crisis, January 20th 2022: https://unherd.com/thepost/the-worlds-poorest-countries-are-facing-an-unprecedented-debt-crisis/


 


Has the Great Barrington Declaration Been Vindicated? Lockdowns Failed to Serve the Collective Good; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, January 10th 2022: https://unherd.com/2022/01/has-the-great-barrington-declaration-been-vindicated/


 


Covid Panic is Hurting African Countries Once Again, December 1st 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/covid-panic-is-hurting-african-countries-once-again/


 


The Left’s Covid Failure; coauthored with Thomas Fazi, November 23rd 2021: https://unherd.com/2021/11/the-lefts-covid-failure/


 


Why are Liberals Blind to Vaccine Passport Discrimination?, October 25th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/why-is-the-left-blind-to-vaccine-passport-discrimination/


 


The Ebola Lockdown that Everyone Forgot, September 21st 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/the-ebola-lockdown-that-everyone-forgot/


 


Bill Gates Finally Realises that Lockdown Hurts Children, September 8th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/bill-gates-finally-realises-that-lockdown-hurts-children/


 


What Gordon Brown Misses about Covid Colonialism, August 18th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/what-gordon-brown-misses-about-covid-colonialism/


 


Lockdowns are Killers in the Global South; coauthored with Jay Bhattacharya, July 22nd 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/lockdowns-are-killers-in-the-global-south/


 


The WHO’s War Against Children, July 16th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/the-whos-war-against-children/


 


There is no Covid Third Wave in Africa, June 24th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/there-is-no-covid-third-wave-in-africa/


 


Who Really Benefits from the Plan to Vaccinate the World’s Poor? June 8th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/who-really-benefits-from-the-plan-to-vaccinate-the-worlds-poor/


 


We Cannot Let the WHO Rewrite Pandemic History, May 21st 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/we-cannot-let-the-who-re-write-pandemic-history/


 


Eastern Europe’s Covid Lesson: It’s GDP, Not Lockdowns, May 4th 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/eastern-europes-covid-lesson-its-gdp-not-lockdowns/


 


Vaccinating Everyone May not Help Africa, April 22d 2021: https://unherd.com/thepost/vaccinating-everybody-wont-help-africa/


 


 


African Arguments


Medical Colonialism: Pandemic Impacts and Vaccine Delivery, December 17th 2021: https://africanarguments.org/2021/12/medical-colonialism-pandemic-impacts-and-vaccine-delivery/


 


Pandemic Policies in South Africa: A Model of Neocolonial State Capture, December 6th 2022: https://africanarguments.org/2022/12/pandemic-policies-in-south-africa-a-model-of-neocolonial-state-capture/

Compact
Lockdown Colonialism, March 23rd 2023: https://compactmag.com/article/lockdown-colonialism


 


Culturico


Covid-19 and the Crisis in Western Thought, June 1st 2021: https://culturico.com/2021/06/01/covid-19-and-the-crisis-in-western-thought/

La Presse du Soir


Entretien avec Toby Green par Bettina Flores, September 4th 2023: https://lapressedusoir.fr/entretien-avec-toby-green


 


 New Statesman


Niger’s Crisis Belongs to the West, August 9th 2023: https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2023/08/nigers-crisis-coup-the-west


NewsAfrica


Vaccine Passports: A Ticket to Apartheid and Racism, coauthored with David Bell, June 25th 2021: https://www.newsafrica.net/article/vaccine-passports-a-ticket-to-apartheid-and-racism


 


Persuasion


What Lockdown Did to Africa, September 22nd 2023: https://www.persuasion.community/p/what-lockdown-did-to-africa


 


Prospect


For Poor Countries, Lockdowns cost more Lives than they Save, May 16th 2021: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/37626/for-poor-countries-lockdowns-cost-more-lives-than-they-save


 


QG Media



Réflexions sur la Soumission du Monde Académique Durant la Crise du Covid : Entretien avec Toby Green sur le Blog de Laurent Mucchielli, June 23rd 2023 : https://qg.media/blog/laurent-mucchielli/reflexions-sur-la-soumission-du-monde-academique-durant-la-crise-du-covid-entretien-avec-toby-green/

Royal United Services Institute
Are Covid Lockdowns Behind the Rise in Extreme Poverty in the Global South?, Jan 3rd 2024: https://www.rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/are-covid-lockdowns-behind-rise-extreme-poverty-global-south



Sunday Express


Boris and Co Must Own up to this Covid Disaster, March 18th 2023: https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1748031/Boris-Johnson-covid-report


TRT Afrika


ERIS: Should Africa Worry about the new Variant? September 8th 2023:


https://www.trtafrika.com/opinion/eris-should-africa-worry-about-the-new-covid-19-variant-14846086



Africa needs an Inquiry into Covid-19 Mistakes  January 30th 2024: https://www.trtafrika.com/opinion/africa-needs-an-inquiry-into-covid-19-mistakes-16784366

 


 


Podcast Interviews for Collateral Global


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oamsSMBFFI – Interview with Elsa Rodrigues, Benguela, Angola


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIZHCDBdNMA&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nF0_t41P3k-yujZLzt118sO – Interview with Dr Samuel Adu-Gyamfi, Kumasi, Ghana


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AP4oGIGdls – Interview with Pedrito Cambrão, Beira, Mozambique


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCJ-i3PC6I8 – Interview with Reginald Oduor, Nairobi, Kenya


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB53J5heXjw – Interview with John Perry, Nicaragua


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=481kyqtU68o&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nF0_t41P3k-yujZLzt118sO&index=4 – Interview with Llanos Ortíz Montero, former Deputy Director of MSF Spain’s Emergency Response Unit


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnto821P0Kg&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nF0_t41P3k-yujZLzt118sO&index=5 – Interview with Daniel Briggs, lead author of Lockdown: Social Harm in the Covid Era


 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoWhfnO-WJI&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nF0_t41P3k-yujZLzt118sO&index=7 – Interview with the actor Clifton Duncan


 


As producer of the Collateral Global series, Daily Life in Post Pandemic Senegal, director Mamadou Ndiaye:


Episode 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyVqc8rTwko&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ


Episode 2:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph_EdH8q1wY&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ&index=2


Episode 3:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-ch2fScCk4&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ&index=3


Episode 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5d3aFKqYPo&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ&index=4


Episode 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvbootkmJBQ&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ&index=5


Episode 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ru8ZyQ1YWM&list=PL5Fk40CEf5nHl6COXgHqAJvB72riFIgpJ&index=6


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Academic


From ‘commodity currencies’ to Covid Loans: Africa and Global Inequality, Past and Present: Journal of the British Academy 10: 39-54https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/documents/4248/JBA-10-p039-Green.pdf


 


The Historical Lecture: Past, Present and Future: Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 2023/1: 45-67, https://cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/5DF8CDB2A841DBA3AD5010331C198AC0/S0080440122000172a.pdf/historical_lecture_past_present_and_future.pdf


 


Covid-19: Medicine and Colonialism, Past and Present: Journal of Extreme Anthropology 6/2 (2022), E33-E46: https://journals.uio.no/JEA/article/view/9637/8354

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