The world stands so dazzled by India’s meteoric economic rise that we hesitate to acknowledge its consequences to the people and the environment. In Churning the Earth, Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kothari engage in a timely enquiry of this impressive growth story. They present incontrovertible evidence on how the nature of this recent growth has been predatory and question its sustainability. Unfettered development has damaged the ecological basis that makes life possible for hundreds of millions resulting in conflicts over water, land and natural resources, and increasing the chasm between the rich and the poor, threatening the future of India as a civilization. Rich with data and stories, this eye-opening critique of India’s development strategy argues for a radical ecological democracy based on the principles of environmental sustainability, social equity and livelihood security. Shrivastava and Kothari urge a fundamental shift towards such alternatives—already emerging from a range of grassroots movements— if we are to forestall the descent into socio-ecological chaos.