Best Books for UPSC Preparation – Best Books for IAS Prelims and Mains

Union Public Service Commission is one of the toughest exams in India. In this article, we will discuss the best books for UPSC that are required for the preparation.

Best Books for UPSC Preparation

The best books for UPSC preparation are not just those books that have more content but are also those which have an easy and understandable language that aspirants can understand after reading once.

However, the toppers suggested that everyone finish NCERT first and then read the reference books.

Every book suggestion depends on a candidate to candidate and their previous knowledge of expertise.

Before heading over to the list of books. Let’s read my favorite motivating quote from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam:

“To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces— desire, belief, and expectation.”

― APJ Abdul Kalam, Wings of Fire

After evaluating countless expert suggestions, we have come up with this list of best books for UPSC preparation. 

List of Top UPSC Books that Can Make You an IAS:

We have book-wise segregated this list so that you don’t get confused and have the best book for every subject. 

Best Books for History

The list is started with history books, so choose the most suitable one and happy learning… 

1. History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra

History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra

As the name suggests, we can get an idea about this book. It is written by Bipan Chandra. The edition of the first book was published in 1989. This book covers the history from the 18th century to the 20th century.

This book covers all the major events occur at that time. The book is divided into 14 chapters. The book starts with the Mughal Empire rule and continues with the British Raj, then covers the revolt of 1857. The later chapters cover India’s independence from the Britishers.

It also covers the formation of Pakistan and the Muslim League. The formation of the Indian National Congress and its contribution to India’s independence.

2. Ancient India by RS Sharma

Ancient India by RS Sharma

It was published in 2005 and covers ancient India’s history. Its starting chapters cover the Harappan civilization and continue with the end of the Gupta empire.

This book is divided into three parts :

  •  Early India – This part covers the Harappan civilization and the Vedic life of that time. The religious and social beliefs of people at that time. The rise of Jainism and Buddhism in India.
  • The Mauryan Period – This part covers the first empire of India Mauryan empire about the Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara, and Ashoka the Great. This book tells the people’s social, economic, and political life during that time.
  • The Post-Mauryan Period – The part covers the rise of the Guptas, the Staves, and the Pallavas. This book provides details about the social, economic, and political life of these people.

Best Books for Geography for UPSC

Understanding Indian geography is very important in order to become an IAS, and these books are going to help you. 

3. Geography of India by Majid Hussain

Geography of India by Majid Hussain

This book covers various aspects of India’s geography, including social, economic, political, and physical geography.

This is one of the best books for geography for UPSC. The first chapter of this book gives an overview of India’s physical geography, including its size, location, and relief features. The other chapters cover population, language, and religion distribution according to their geographical area.

This also covers the economic division of India according to its geographical condition, like in which area agriculture is higher, industry, trade, and transportation. This geography book includes the administrative divisions and international relations.

4. Certificate Physical Geography by G C Leong 

Certificate Physical Geography by G C Leong 

This book is about the Physical structure of the Earth. It covers various topics like Climate change, weather, the Oceans, and the sea.

In this book, the author is written about the mountains, plateaus, and hills and explores their formation. They talk about the Physical geography of India. This book covers the influence of pressure, temperature, and humidity.

The book also contains a section in which natural disasters are mentioned, like earthquakes, tsunamis, and other types of natural disasters. They also discuss the cause of the natural disaster and how they can be dangerous for us. 

This book provides very useful knowledge related to the physical structure of the Earth and the person who wants to gain knowledge related to Natural resource management.

Best Books for UPSC Economics

Now, let’s talk about economics. 

5. Economic survey by Ministry of Finance 

Economic survey by Ministry of Finance

This book is an annual government publication and one of the best books for UPSC economics. The Ministry of Finance published this book.

In this book, the Union Budget is presented in Parliament, and the overview of the problems and economy of the past years is presented. It also predicted the challenges for the economy in the upcoming years.

It provides an overview of the global economy and its impact on the Indian Economy. This book also includes policies for Infrastructure development, foreign trade, and taxation. During the covid, the covid every country’s economy collapsed, so in this book, everything mentioned about the out positive and negative in the economy.

6. Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila 

Indian Economy - Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila

This book is all about the Indian Economy from both theoretical and practical aspects. This gives a detailed analysis of the Indian Economy.

This book has chapters like economic planning, agriculture, industry, and service sector. This book starts with the history of the Indian Economy, the current status of the Indian Economy, and future goals.

It gives information about the Green Revolution, liberalization, and privatization and the good or bad decisions that affect the economy during this time. This book is written in simple language, which even beginners (who have less economic knowledge) can also read and understand.

This book is very good for UPSC aspirants; it provides information about weaknesses, strengths, and impacts of various decisions taken in the past.

7. International Economics by Salvatore 

International Economics by Salvatore

This book discusses the international economy and covers topics like International trade, finance, and the Global economy.

This book is very good for someone wanting to understand international economics more deeply. It gives knowledge about the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the Word Bank and how they are crucial in managing the World’s Economy.

This book also has a section on International Investment which covers the topics of Foreign Direct Investment(FDI), Multinational Corporations (MNCs), and the role of Internation institutions in regulating investment across various countries.

This book provides a very good understanding of the Global Economy. And a valuable resource for students and professionals in economics, business, and international relations.

8. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

This book is basically for both beginners and experts. If we talk about the best books for economics for UPSC, these books should come on that shelf.

This book is divided into chapters that cover topics like agriculture which is the backbone of our economy, banks, budget, money, and financial management. In this book, the graphs and tables well explain all the chapters and the proper data.

This book also covers the challenges faced by the Indian economy, like poverty, unemployment, high inflation, and inequality. If anyone wants to study about Indian Economy, this is the book that he or she should read.

These books are on different subjects but are the best books for UPSC.

Consider these books also as becoming IAS is not a small thing. 

9. Environment and Ecology by Majid Husain

Environment and Ecology by Majid Husain

This book gives an overview of the relationship between humans and the environment. This book covers various topics like biodiversity, climate, pollution, ecosystem, and how humans manage the environment and they should manage it.

The relationship between humans and the environment should be good because they need each other. Without natural resources, we cannot imagine our life. The starting chapters introduce the different types of ecosystems and their functions.

The later chapters cover the different types of pollution, like noise, soil, and water pollution. And the effect of pollution on the climate.

10. Governance in India by Laxmikanth 

Governance in India by Laxmikanth

We already talked about one of the books, one on the government of India, in which we talked about the different aspects of the Government of India. It covers various topics like the constitutional framework, parliamentary system, federalism, local self-government, and the role of civil society in Governance.

This book also covers the functionality of the various Government bodies like the Election Commission, as we all know our country is the biggest democratic country, and how the Election Commission manages all the voting in this huge country.

It is written in Easy to understand manner. This book can add value if you want to prepare for the UPSC services.

11. Oxford School Atlas by Oxford University Press

Oxford School Atlas by Oxford University Press

This is a very popular atlas across various regions of the world. This atlas provides the overall view of the country and its regions across the map, and it prefers by various countries across the Globe.

This atlas is divided into several sections, starting with all about the sea and ocean and then about the different types of regions like Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia.

About India, this map shows the population of India about their Union Territories. The map shows important information like the area and capital of each state according to the map.

This book contains the map, which gives valuable insights into the climate, natural resources, vegetation, and sex ratio. It is a valuable resource for students, teachers, and people interested in geography and cartography.

12. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania 

Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

This book covers various topics about Indian Culture and Art. This book is divided into various chapters. The first chapter tells about Indian Culture, the second chapter tells about Indian Art, and the third one covers miscellaneous topics about Indian Culture.

This book beings with the different dance forms in India, like Classical Dance, Music, and Theatre. And then, it shows the different types of Art forms like Paintings, sculptures, Modern Art forms, and architecture.

Some bodies help in preserving Indian Art and Sculptures, like the National Museums and the Archeological Department of India, so in this book how this department plays their roles in protecting the art shown in this book.

13. The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham 

The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham 

This book is all about the different cultures, civilizations, and the history of India. This book starts by exploring the land and weather conditions of India.

The different types of religion are also covered, like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and how they influenced our society. This book provides an overview of Indian literature, which includes the work of great authors like Kalidas and Rabindranath Tagore.

Suppose anyone wants to know about the rich culture of India, so they should read this book. It tells how Indian Temples help us develop art, like building ancient monuments and many more.

14. India’s National Security: A Reader, edited by Kanti Bajpai and Harsh V. Pant

India’s National Security - A Reader, edited by Kanti Bajpai and Harsh V. Pant

This book gives a detailed analysis of India’s national security challenges. This book is divided into various topics; the first part covers the history of Indian culture and how they handled security in the early days.

The next chapters cover the current challenges of India’s security, like the conflict with the neighbors and India’s role in Global security. The next section covers India’s military capabilities and internal security challenges like terrorism and ethnic conflicts.

It also gives knowledge about cyber security and cybercrime which are continuously increasing nowadays. This book shows the understanding of security from India’s perspective. 

All information is written by different people who are experts in their field. All this information is written in essays. This is one of the best books for UPSC from a security point of view.

15. Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth

Indian Polity by M.Laxmikanth

This book was first published in 2006 by Mcgraw Hills. This book covers the Indian Constitution, Indian Governance, and Politics. This book gives us information about the making of the Constitution, its history, the federal system, the union territories, the Judiciary, and constitutional bodies.

This book is divided into chapters with specific topics; some chapters give information about the historical background and some about the working of the president and the prime minister and their powers.

This book also covers topics like the fundamental rights of India, the Emergency Provisions, and the working direction of a state.

This book is easy to understand, well-researched, and comprehensive book that gives detailed knowledge of Indian Polity. This book is one of the best books for UPSC on Indian Polity.

Wrapping Up

That’s it with the list of best books for UPSC aspirants who want to be the next IAS officer and handle the rein of this country’s growth.

DisclosureSome of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

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