Standard UPSC Books given here is an exclusive list of Reference Books for IAS Prelims and Mains Preparation recommended by UPSC Toppers. Books for UPSC Prelims and Mains should be concise books for quick revision. UPSC Booklist for Prelims sometimes overlaps with Mains Exam Books. The selection of such IAS reference books along with other UPSC Study Materials is vital for various stages of the UPSC Exam.
Many of the students are searching in the dark light which are the best books for UPSC, what to read, and what not to read. Moreover, finding an important book also determines the chances of success in the IAS Exam.
Recommended Standard Books for UPSC Preparation by IAS Toppers
1. UPSC Books for History and Culture
- India’s Struggle for Independence: 1857-1947: which is a very good book for the modern part. Even though this book is a little bit fatty and time-consuming but it will give you broad knowledge about the topic. This book can read like a novel and explains each and every happening of the freedom struggle period holistically.
- India’s Ancient Past- RS Sharma – Authoritative book on the ancient history of India It’s definitely one of the best books in the market about the ancient history of India. The writer is reputed and tries to put a holistic view of the subject.
- History of Medieval India Complete Book in English By Satish Chandra -Though UPSC focuses more on Modern History the most, for a clear understanding of the Medieval Era, this is the best book to read. Furthermore, A few Questions is also can expect from this part.
- Facets of Indian Culture by Spectrum: This is a comprehensive book on Indian culture that covers various aspects of Indian culture like religion, philosophy, music, art, literature, cinema, etc. Besides these, it covers several solved and unsolved questions for practice and revision. Most of the questions about Indian heritage are triggered from here.
2. UPSC Books for Indian Polity and Constitution
- Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth – In fact, there is no question arising that the base book for the polity, it is none other than Laxmikant. Start reading from any of the interesting topics, for instance, if you find it interesting to study The Panchayat Raj, start reading from there. Moreover, it would be beneficial for you if you prepare notes along with the reading itself.
- Objective Indian Polity – This can be used to check your knowledge after studying the Indian Polity textbook. It consists of in-depth objective questions useful for all exams.
- Introduction to the Constitution of India- D.D Basu – This book is highly advantageous for mains, an epitome of analytical work. It provides an in-depth analysis of the Indian constitution. Our Parliament, Our Constitution, Our Political System by Subhash Kashyap. This is a series of three books with lucid language, written by the former secretary general of Lok Sabha. Our Parliament gives a detailed outlook on how our government works. Our constitution also explains about the whole concept of the constitution and its functioning.
- Governance in India by M. Laxmikanth: This book explains in detail the governance system in India. It is a must-read book for studying Indian Polity.
3. UPSC Books for Geography
- Certificate of Physical and human geography by G C Leong is a must-book for IAS Books prelims and mains for the Physical part of Geography. Moreover, It effectively covers most topics from physical world geography that are asked in the prelims!
- Geography of India by Majid Hussain is a very comprehensive book for UPSC and other competitive exams. This a must-have book if you want to understand the geography of India from root to tip. It details topics so that you get a complete understanding of updated info and maps.
Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussain: This is an excellent book from UPSC Mains point of view. It is a must-read book for UPSC aspirants. Apart from this book, aspirants should study physical and human geography by Goh Cheng Log and NCERT textbooks of classes 11 & 12.
These two books are already mentioned for prelims preparation. However, NCERT Books from class 6 are highly beneficial while class 11& 12 are essential from the perspective of the mains.
4. UPSC Books for Indian Economy
- Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh – It is a must-read book. This book not only covers almost all aspects of the Economy, but also it will be useful for prelims. Read from the latest edition [14th edition]. Apart from it will be helpful for the mains also.
- Economic Survey 2022-23 (English Medium): An analytical and descriptive account of the present economic challenges and opportunities the country is witnessing. it is highly advantageous for both prelims and mains point of view.
- Basic issues in economic development:
- Institutional Framework and Policy Regimes.
- Growth and distributional issues: poverty, inequality, and employment.
- Current perspectives in Indian agriculture: growth, productivity, constraints, and pricing.
- Industry and service sector Financial and the external sector.
In addition to the Indian economic survey and Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh, you should study one more book that is, an Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila.
Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila: It is a widely accepted book for UPSC mains. It covers an economy comprehensive overview of the Indian Economy and special focusing on the performance of various policies and programs since independence. Moreover, lucid language also enables aspirants to understand topics easily. Each topic is covered under
5. UPSC Books for Environment
- Environment by Shankar IAS is – Must-read Book for UPSC aspirants as many questions are being asked about the environment. But you have to keep in touch with environmental current affairs from THE HINDU. UPSC gives a lot of attention is given to environmental issues nowadays.
- Environment and Ecology by Majid Hussain: This is a highly recommended book for prelims and mains. It covers all aspects of the environment including climate change, disaster management, and so on.
General Studies Paper 4
For basic reading, the Environment part of Class 11& 12 is suggested.
6. UPSC Books for Art and Culture
- Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania – Generally speaking about the culture part of the IAS Exam, the best book is Indian Art and Culture. Additionally, It’s a resource material you just cannot avoid for Civil Service Exam. Besides these, this book is illustrated with pictures, and reading and studying from this book itself is a wonderful learning experience in itself.
- The Wonder that Was India – AL Basham: Comprehensive book on the glorious history of India. In addition to this, the book has deep information about the ancient culture of India. Apart from this, it is a classic one on the subject.
7. UPSC Books for Science and Technology
- Science and Technology in India – Rajiv P Agrahari.- This is a really good book not only for basic preparation of the Science and Technology part for UPSC preparation but also for those who want to learn something extra. Although it comprises fine information on every topic, however, the book is not updated.
Science and Technology – Esencia Series is a good book to refer to science and technology topics. Recently, UPSC is giving more focus to general science like biotechnology. The topics in this book are arranged in ten chapters that aid in even studying.
8. UPSC Books for Current Affairs
- India Year Book 2023 – This book is very helpful to understand the government schemes and plans on various fields ( contents index is provided in the images), which can be very helpful for exams like UPSC for both prelims and mains point of view.
- Manorama Yearbook 2023 – For Current Affairs, also reading the Manorama yearbook and Hindu newspaper is advisable.
Tips: For UPSC exam preparation, exhaustive reading of newspapers especially The Hindu is a must. Reading current affairs from PIB on daily basis also recommendable.
9. UPSC Books for CSAT Paper
By and large, CSAT paper is not considered to pass prelims from 2015 onwards. But need to secure a minimum of 33% of 200 marks, which is 66 marks. Although the relevance of paper 2 has come down still it is important to clear prelims.
- A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning
- Cracking the CSAT Paper 2 or CSAT Manual by TMH – CSAT Paper 2
10. GS Manual Books for UPSC Preparation
11. IAS Books for GS Mains History
- A new look at Modern Indian History by B.L Grover: Firstly, this book gives an excellent as well as unbiased analysis of various events of the freedom struggle. Secondly, it covers all aspects from Plassey to partition. Thirdly, it gives an overview of history before the birth of Inter National Congress (INC). Only a few books cover details of Indian history before the birth of INC and this book is one among them.
- India Since Independence by Bipin Chandra: It is a continuation of India’s struggle for independence. This book explains in detail about various problems and challenges for India had to face after independence. Along with these problems and obstacles, it tells about the successful and proudest moments of post-independent India. Apart from these, in nutshell, it essays the pathways to how India became one of the most powerful nations in the world.
- A History of the modern world by Ranjan Chakrabarti: It is an introductory text of world history that gives all-around information about the modern world, from the French Revolution and Napoleon to the cold war. It covers various aspects of world history such as the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution, world wars, the American Revolution, and so on.
Along with these books struggle for Independence and the brief history of India are essential UPSC books for history.
12. IAS Books for International Relations
- International Relations in 21 st Century by Pavaneet Singh – It is a precise book about international relations and global issues. This book is recommended for GS Paper 2.
13. IAS Books for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
- Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude by civil service chronicle: This is a must-read highly recommended book for GS paper 4. Also, the simple language along with various case studies
enables an easy understanding of topics.
- Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by Subbha Rao: This is a perfect book that covers all issues relating to ethics. Further, at the end of each chapter, there are practice questions in accordance with UPSC Syllabus.
Additional standard UPSC Books for IAS Preparation
- Contemporary Essays by Ramesh Singh. (Essay paper)
- Essays for Civil Services. (Essay Paper)
- 151 ESSAYS For UPSC Mains. (Essay Paper)
- Social Problems In India – Ram Ahuja. (Indian Society-GS1)
- India After Gandhi–Ramchandra Guha. (History – GS1)
- World History by Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World – Krishna Reddy (World History-GS1)
- IAS Mains Paper 2 Governance Constitution, Polity Social Justice & International Relations 2020
- Governance in India by Laxmikanth -(Governance – GS2)
- Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor. (Foreign Policy – GS 2)
- Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy (Foreign Policy – GS2)
- India’s National Security: A Reader. (Internal Security – GS3)
- Challenges to Internal Security of India. (Internal Security – GS3)
- Lexicon Ethics Integrity and Aptitude Guide. ( Ethics – GS4)
- IAS Mains General Studies – G Subharao. ( Ethics Manual – GS4)
Recommended NCERT Books for UPSC Preparation (Class 6 to12)
NCERT Books are the foundation stone of school learning as well as UPSC Preparation. So you will need to read and build your basics from the NCERT Books and move on to standard UPSC Books.
UPSC Syllabus Books
- UPSC New Syllabus & Tips to Crack IAS Preliminary and Mains Exam
- UPSC Syllabus Civil Service Exam Prelims & Mains Latest 2023
UPSC Previous Year Question Papers
UPSC Books for Optional Subjects
- Book List for UPSC Optional Subjects in Mains Exam
IAS Books for Prelims and Mains in the Hindi Language
As many of the books given in the English Language, corresponding books in the Hindi language are available in the book market. Also, Hindi medium students can check the link UPSC IAS Books in the Hindi Language to buy from Amazon at a lower price.
Books for Other Competitive Exams
Links of UPSC Books at Online Stores
- The full list of UPSC books available in Amazon
- The full list of UPSC books available in Flipkart
Free Resources For IAS Exam
- Yojana Magazine Download.
- Kurukshetra Magazine
- Pratiyogita Darpan issue
- Download IGNOU Books
- NCERT Books Download
- Buy NCERT Books Online
Also read: UPSC Cut Off 2021: Detailed cutoff mark analysis
IAS Solution Prelims Mock Test Series
Hindi medium aspirants should read UPSC Hindi Medium Books from NCERT as well as Hindi translations of popular IAS books.
NCERT books are widely available in bookstores across the country as well as major e-commerce sites. If you cannot find the book you require in a bookstore, you can download NCERT Books/ UPSC Books PDF online.
Nitin Singhania’s “Indian Economy” is considered to be one of the best books for UPSC Economy.
Nitin Singhania’s “Indian Art & Culture” is a must-read book for UPSC Prelims and Mains.
M. Laxmikanth’s “Indian Polity” is considered to be the best book for UPSC Polity.