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Show Me the Bodies (Paperback)Peter Apps (author)
Deeply moving and intensely powerful, Apps' rigorously researched account of the Grenfell Tower fire makes for a shocking saga of incompetence, indifference and corporate greed that cost numerous lives.
Winner of The Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2023
On 14 June 2017, a 24-storey block of flats went up in flames.
The fire climbed up cladding as flammable as solid petrol. Fire doors failed to self-close. No alarm rang out to warn sleeping residents. As smoke seeped into their homes, all were told to 'stay put'. Many did - and they died.
It was a disaster decades in the making.
Peter Apps exposes how a steady stream of deregulation, corporate greed and institutional indifference caused this tragedy. It is the story of a grieving community forsaken by our government, a community still waiting for change.
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 26 mm
'Show Me the Bodies is a clear, moving and powerful account of Britain's worst fire since the second world war, written by someone who knows what he's talking about... Never before, in years of reviewing books about buildings, has one brought me to tears. This one did.' - Rowan Moore, Observer Book of the Week
'Show Me the Bodies will never leave the mind of anyone who reads it. The tragedy is that those who should read it probably won't.' - Guardian
'A jaw-dropping account of a callous system that swept individual conscience aside in favour of profit and politics. It is hard to convey how moving and enraging the book is - I urge you to read it for yourself. Because one thing almost all of us have been guilty of since the worst disaster in the UK this century is complacency.' - Evening Standard
'At first, it was easy to write about Grenfell... soon, it was dizzyingly hard: a web of technical intricacy, overlapping safety codes and multisyllabic plastic types - all against the fraught backdrop of a police investigation and judge-led inquiry. In his insistence on weaving through such legal pitfalls, Apps stands almost alone... he is one of the only writers beyond the west London community to chronicle the joys of living in Grenfell Tower... a forensic examination of how building regulations and corporate safety standards have been watered down since Margaret Thatcher's deregulation bonanza.' - New Statesman, Book of the Day
'Apps writes that Grenfell "tells us something about... the priority our political and economic system places on human life-especially when those lives are likely to be poor, immigrant and from ethnic minority backgrounds." He has done their stories justice with this urgent book.' - Prospect
'However painful the story of Grenfell is, it is one we must hear. Apps' powerful testament tells us how injustice was manifested and how lessons still fail to be learned.' - David Lammy MP
'For the last few years, Peter Apps has been writing the most important reportage on the most important disaster in this country since Hillsborough. Here, he makes clear how this atrocity was easily preventable. Show Me the Bodies also reveals just how little those responsible, from the construction industry to the government, have learned. Whatever the courts eventually decide, this book deserves to be widely read so that the rest of us can finally hold them to account.' - Owen Hatherley
'Show Me the Bodies is a staggering achievement, both a testament to the victims, the bereaved and the community of Grenfell and a painstaking, forensic investigation into the causes of the crime itself. Yet it is also an unflinching portrait of UKplc: a divided, deregulated, privatized and neglected kingdom where profit for the few always triumphs over the health, safety and lives of the many, where the victims are always left voiceless, and where the dead never find justice or peace. And where, most damningly of all, we still choose not to act and so still let crimes such as Grenfell happen, over and over, again and again. In short, this is the most harrowing, moving, powerful and important book of the year, and one which every citizen should read. And remember. And learn from and then act upon.' - David Peace, author of the Red Riding Quartet
'Compelling, rigorous, utterly forensic and so very needed. This book has to be the moment that things change.' - Lucy Easthope, author of When the Dust Settles
'Working from painstaking daily reporting from the inquiry, alongside extensive interviews with the bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell atrocity, Apps has written a concise, devastatingly detailed and upsetting book. This should be a required text for anyone involved in the built environment. From architects to politicians, all decision makers should read Show Me the Bodies, then effect change.' - Emma Dent Coad, former MP for Kensington
'This book is a vital work of public service. Peter Apps has shown the care, humanity and attention to detail that were lethally lacking among those with the power and responsibility to keep the residents of Grenfell safe. We cannot afford to ignore its lessons.' - Lynsey Hanley, author of Estates
'Peter Apps has written a searing indictment of what he rightly calls "the most serious crime committed on British soil this century" in this forensic account of the deregulation, cost-cutting and sheer negligence behind the Grenfell fire and its human cost. It's essential reading if we are to avoid such needless tragedy in the future.' - John Boughton, author of Municipal Dreams.
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