IAS Books List recommended by Toppers

IAS Books List (UPSC Books)

IAS Books List selection has a phenomenal role in the success of UPSC Civil Service Toppers. The ideal book list is the basic tool of your UPSC Preparation.

In this post, we are given the best books for IAS Preparation recommended by IAS Toppers.

Table of Contents

IAS Books for Civil Services Prelims Exam Preparation

From the prelims point of view, there are reference IAS Books for Prelims and Mains. Apart from these books, make a habit of newspaper reading, which is indispensable for cracking UPSC as questions are being triggered by current issues also.

1. NCERT 37 Books Set for UPSC Exams (English Medium)

For all these subjects, NCERT textbooks are inevitable for basic knowledge. Because of this, you should go through NCERT textbooks from class 6 to 12 to have a fundamental knowledge of each subject.

2. GS Manual for Paper 1 

This book is highly advantageous for students to reference topics for GS paper 1. Mc- Grow hills general studies manual is a systemically structured book, with information organized in such a way that meets the requirement of the reader. Moreover, the MCQs are structured as per UPSC norms. Besides these, the current events section provides an overview of various events that are nationally and internationally significant.

3. General Studies Paper 2 2020 : for Civil Services Preliminary Examination and State Examinations

From 2016 onwards, CSAT is a qualifying paper. So it is obvious to secure a separate minimum of 66 marks to qualify for mains. Mc-Grow hills CSAT manual is synchronized with the UPSC Syllabus. It is the only book you should refer to CSAT.

4. Manorama Year Book

It covers up to date information on various topics like science and technology, medicine, environment, space research, history, and so on. Apart from these, it covers matters of current importance. This book is also useful for prelims preparation.

5. India 2020 - Publications Division

Published by the government of India, the authentic information in this book can be used as reference material.

6. IAS Previous Year Question Papers

Previous year question papers help you to understand the current trend of UPSC. Further, section wise analysis will aid to cover various topics effectively.

7. Oxford School Atlas: India's Most Trusted Atlas 35th edition (Areal app)

Candidates are often asked for map-based questions not only for prelims but also for mains. An atlas will enable us to solve these kinds of questions. Oxford atlas consists of high quality and accurate maps of India and the world.

8. Indian Art and Culture for Civil Services and other Competitive Examinations

It covers the whole syllabus of Indian heritage and culture for general studies paper 1. This is the only book you need to refer to Indian art and culture.

9. Indian Polity - For Civil Services and Other State Examinations | 6th Edition

A considerable number of questions are coming from Indian polity for prelims. It’s not necessary to refer to many books for Indian polity. You should refer one book for this, Indian polity by M Laxmikanth. It consists of an elaborated description of the Indian constitution various articles, schedules, and amendments. The lucid language of this book also helps beginners.

10. Environment By Shankar (7th) Revised Edition (2019-2020 Session)

Shankar IAS’s environment and ecology cover all aspects of climate change, global warming, and international agreements. Moreover, this book is highly advantageous for mains also.

11. Struggle for independence by Bipin Chandra 

This book covers an in-depth overview of the Indian freedom struggle. It covers all aspects from the revolt of 1857 and continues still independence. This book is essential for covering modern history and candidates can easily tackle questions from Indian history. Besides prelims, It is useful for mains also

12. A brief history of Modern India 

It covers all aspects relating to social reforms during the 19th century and pre-independence movements during the 20th century. In other words, it is a summary of Bipin Chandra’s struggle for independence.

Also read: List of useful IAS Books in Hindi Medium

13. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh 

Mc- Grow hills Indian economy is a comprehensive text with all topics explained in detail. In addition to this, it goes through all aspects of the Indian economy like banking, agriculture, external trade, and so on. Even though it covers all aspects in detail, language is lucid and easy to understand. This book is essential for the prelims point of view. Further, it will be beneficial for mains preparation also.

14. Economic Survey 

Every year the ministry of finance, the government of India publishes the economic survey that focuses on the country’s economic development during the previous twelve months. It consists of an in-depth analysis of recent economic developments. Along with all these, it the most authoritative, updated and unbiased source of information regarding the Indian economy. This book is also useful for both prelims and mains.

15. Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong 

This book covers all aspects of physical geography like natural vegetation, climate change, earthquakes, mountain chains, glaciers, and other natural phenomena. Secondly, elementary details of each topic explained in a simple language along with photographs, illustrations, and maps providing detailed explanations wherever required. Thirdly, there are questions at the end of each section that is helpful for practice. 

IAS Books for Civil Services Mains Exam Preparation

For mains, there is four general studies paper. Before going through IAS Books for Prelims and Mains, it’s better to have an idea about GS papers.

  1. General studies paper 1 ( Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of world and society)
  2. GS paper 2 (governance, constitution, polity, social justice, and international relations)
  3. General studies paper 3 ( technology, economic development, biodiversity, environment, security, and disaster management)
  4. General studies paper 4 ( ethics, integrity, and aptitude)

It is evident that some books for prelims are useful for mains. In addition to prelims books, you should go through some other books also.

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1. A new look at modern Indian history by B.L Grover

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 INC. Only a few books cover details of Indian history before the birth of Congress and this book is one among them.

2. 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 a nutshell, it essays the pathways of how India became one of the powerful nations in the world.

It is a must-read IAS Books for Prelims Mains Exam Preparation as per the standard of the UPSC Exam.

3. A History of the Modern world by Norman Lowe 

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 enlightenment, the industrial revolution, world wars, the American Revolution, and so on.

4. 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 for Indian heritage are triggered here.

Along with these books struggle for independence and a brief history of India are essential UPSC books for history.

5. Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussain 

This is an excellent book from UPSC’s mains point of view. It is a must-read IAS  Books for Prelims and  Mains  Preparation.

Apart from this book aspirants should study physical and human geography by Goh Cheng Lechong 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 classes 11& 12 are essential from mains perspective.

6. Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy 

It is a precise book about international relations and global issues. This book is useful for better understanding of International relations paper Introduction to the constitution of India- D.D Basu 

Firstly, this book is highly advantageous for mains, an epitome of analytical work. Secondly,  it provides an in-depth analysis of the Indian constitution.

7. Our parliament, Our Constitution by Subhash Kashyap 

This is a series of three books with lucid language, written by the former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha. Our parliament gives a detailed outlook on how our government works.

Our constitution also explains the whole concept of the constitution as well as its functioning.

8. The constitution of India- P M Bakshi 

This book explains the political principles, policies followed by the government as well as the basic rights and duties of the citizens.  This book is essential for mains. It is informative for research purposes also.

9. Governance in India by M. Laxmikanth 

This book explains in detail about the governance system in India. It is a must-read book for understanding the basics of governance in India.

10. Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila 

It covers a comprehensive overview of the Indian economy and especially focusing on the performance of various policies and programs since independence. Moreover, the lucid language also enables aspirants to understand topics easily. Each topic is covered under five sections.

  • 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.

11. Science and Technology by Rajiv Agrahari

This is a good book to refer to science and technology topics. Recently, UPSC is giving more focus on general science like biotechnology. The topics are arranged in ten chapters. Hence aids in even studying.

12. Environment and Ecology Shankar IAS 

This is a highly useful book for IAS Exam, especially for Prelims. It covers all aspects of the environment including climate change, disaster management, and so on.

13. Lexicon for Ethics Integrity and aptitude by Civil Service Chronicle 

This is the most popular and useful book for GS paper 4. However, simple language along with various case studies enables easy understanding of topics.

14. Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by Subha 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 the Mains syllabus. If you have time then read both Lexicon and Subha Rao otherwise stick on to a lexicon.

IAS Books for Interview

How to Ace Civil Service Interviews
  • Remya Roshni IPS (Ex.) (Author)
  • 06/18/2021 (Publication Date) - Malayala Manorama (Publisher)

IASSolution Prelims Online Mock Test Series

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