Skip to main content

Show Me the Bodies

How We Let Grenfell Happen

Peter Apps

Prospect Book of the Year

‘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

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.

  • Publication date: November 10, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861546152
  • RRP: £10.99
  • Pages: 352
  • Publication date: November 10, 2022
  • ISBN: 9780861545957
  • RRP: £6.99
  • Pages: 304

Reviews

'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 searing indictment of the construction industry and regulators… The book that follows reads like a prosecution, meticulous and fierce.'

The Times

'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

'Enormously important… A painstaking chronicle of an entirely avoidable tragedy, its aftermath and its causes.'

James O'Brien, LBC

'A harrowing account of the fire itself and a searing indictment of the society that allowed it to happen.'

Financial Times

‘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

Peter Apps

Peter Apps is an award-winning journalist and Deputy Editor at Inside Housing. He broke a story on the dangers of combustible cladding thirty-four days before the Grenfell Fire. He has not stopped reporting on this national tragedy since, and his coverage of the public inquiry has received widespread acclaim. He lives in London.

Author page

More books by Peter Apps

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletters to find out more about our latest books and offers, straight to your inbox.
Name(Required)
Select mailing lists