A site on British historian and writer Toby Green
About Toby Green
Career and Influences
Academic work
A Fistful of Shells
Recent Book on African History
Thoughts for the future
Early historical books
Published fiction by Toby Green
Current Affairs and Journalism
Features and books on history and current affairs
Early Travel Books
Published Travel Books
Media, Speaking and Contacts
Public events and contact details

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, and Times Higher Education, feature essays for Aeon and History Today, and numerous travel features for the Financial Times. He has also contributed comment pieces to a range of online media, including African Arguments, Culturico, The Wire and UnHerd.

His latest work on current affairs centres on the Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it. His book on the pandemic, The Covid Consensus: The New Politics of Global Inequality was published by  Hurst/Oxford University Press on April 22nd 2021.

The Covid Consensus

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. Green's 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.

Green has written widely about responses to Covid for a range of publications, as well as doing media interviews for BBC World Service Weekend, LBC's Maajid Nawaz, Sky News Australia, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation's night-time news, The Grayzone News's Max Blumenthal on Rofkin, and Times Radio.

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...Green’s book is 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

'Restrictions have disproportionately affected the young and poor. Green’s 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 Toby Green shows 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

'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. Toby Green 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 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. With his background of history and economics, Green is able to tackle this controversial issue skilfully, acknowledging the seriousness of the virus, whilst addressing the enormous socio-economic" -- 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? Toby Green’s 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 has written a number of op-eds and features regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and responses to it in print and online media, including Prospect, African ArgumentsHistory TodayUnHerd, The Wire, NewsAfrica,Times Higher Education and Culturico. He has co-authored many of these articles, working with David Bell, Jay Bhattacharya, Carlos Cardoso, Thomas Fazi, and Ambreena Manji, among others:

Co-authored article with Jay Bhattacharya on Lockdowns and the Global poor in Unherd:

UnHerd article Lockdowns Global South

Co-authored article with David Bell in The Wire on WHO:

The Wire WHO piece

UnHerd article on "3rd wave" in Africa:

Africa's "3rd wave"

Prospect article on health and the Global South:

Prospect Global Health

UnHerd article on vaccines in Africa:

UnHerd on vaccines in Africa

Aeon article on economic crisis, poverty and the lessons of African history for the present:

Aeon article on slavery and economic crises

Co-authored article with Carlos Cardoso in African Arguments:

African arguments article

History Today article on Africa, debt and historical parallels to the pandemic:

History Today

Culturico article on Covid and the crisis in Western thought:

Culturico article

Co-authored article with Ambreena Manji, Carli Coetzee and Ola Uduku in Times Higher Education:

Times Higher Education

Unherd article on the failure of lockdowns in Eastern Europe:

UnHerd Eastern Europe article


Toby Green wrote dozens of reviews for the Independent, and has also written criticism for the London 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:


Review of Pirates of the Caribbean by Tariq Ali:

Tariq Ali

Review of The Art of Political Murder by Francisco Goldman:

Francisco Goldman


Toby Green has written features for a wide range of print and online media. He has contributed  numerous features for Aeon, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Guardian, History Today, the Observer, and Prospect.

Comment piece on the Inquisition from the Guardian's editorial page:


History Today article on Africa's global histories:

Global Africa

Co-authored article in Prospect on Guinea-Bissau:


Article on Cape Verde in the Financial Times:

FT Cape Verde

Article in Aeon about Precolonial African history:

Aeon Precolonial Africa

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