A Comprehensive Guide to UPSC Books

A Comprehensive Guide to UPSC IAS Book List

UPSC Books

This post is written for all the aspirants of UPSC Exam. Before jumping over to the UPSC book list make sure that you have downloaded UPSC IAS syllabus. UPSC syllabus is very important aspect to your preparation.

This UPSC books list is very necessary for UPSC exam beginner.

Best Books For UPSC Preliminary Exam

Following is a comprehensive book list for UPSC IAS Prelims. A aspirant should keep his/ her book list short. Reading a book more time is important than reading more books.

There are two papers in Prelims (GS 1 and CSAT) and both are of objective type with negative marking. The best IAS books for Prelims are given below

SubjectUPSC Books
HistoryIndia’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
NCERT XI (Ancient & Medieval)
NCERT XII (Modern Indian History)
GeographyCertificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus) NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
World Atlas
Indian PolityIndian Polity – M Laxmikanth
EconomicsIndian Economy by Ramesh Singh
Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri
International RelationsNCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics)
Current Affairs
CSATTata McGraw Hill
CSAT Manual CSAT II – Arihant
Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R S Aggarwal

Best Books For UPSC Mains

Given below are the best General studies books for the UPSC Mains:

SubjectUPSC Books
EssaysEssays for Civil Services and Other Competitive Examinations by Pulkit Khare.
Selected Contemporary Essays by Saumitra Mohan (MHE)
Essay Paper for Civil Services Main Examination by Pavneet Singh and Sonali Bansal.
A Book of Essays by Kalpana Rajaram
History, Indian Heritage & Culture [GS Paper 1]An Introduction to Indian Art Part 1: Textbook in Fine Arts for Class XI
India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra
India after Independence by Bipan Chandra
History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra Ancient India by R.S Sharma
Geography [GS Paper 1]Geography of India by Majid Husain
World Geography by Majid Husain
World Atlas
Certificate Physical and Human Geography – G C Leong
Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT Class 11
Polity & International Relations [GS Paper 2]Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth
Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu
India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
Economy [GS Paper 3]Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh
Ethics [GS Paper 4]Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao and P.N. Roy Chaudary

Inclusive UPSC Books List For Prelims and Mains

  • NCERT Books are best for a beginner to start UPSC preparation.
  • NCERT Books are very simple and basic for UPSC exam. Before reading reference books NCERT books are necessary to build foundation.
  • Revision is key to your success. Do revision and make short notes.


  • Newspaper: The Hindu OR The Indian Express
  • Magazine: Yojana and Kurukshetra (no need to read all articles – read selectively)
  • LokSabha and RajyaSabha Debates


 NCERT Class 6th to 12th Or Tamilnadu Board History Books (11-12th)

Reference Books :

 Modern India Spectrum Modern India – Rajiv Ahir

 India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra;

Plassey to Partition by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

Ancient and Medieval India –  Poonam Dalal Dahiya

Art and Culture : NCERT : An Introduction to Indian Art Book for Class 11th  – English Medium


  • NCERT Geography Class 6th to 12th
  • Atlas: Orient BlackSwan School Atlas OR  Oxford School Atlas

Reference Book: 

Certificate Physical and Indian Geography – Goh Cheng Leong;

India and World Geography :  Mahesh Kumar Barnwal OR  Majid Hussain


  • NCERT – 6th to 12th 

Reference Book:

 Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

Introduction to Indian Constitution – D.D.Basu


  • NCERT Geography Class 11th –12th  
  • Reference book : Ramesh Singh

Other userful resources:


  • NCERT- Class 6th to 10th


  • Shankar IAS Notes
  • Reference Book : Shankar IAS notes on Environment

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