Recommended Books for IAS Exam
This page lists all the recommended Books for IAS exam including IAS Prelims Books, GS Mains Books for IAS, Pub Ad Books, Sociology Books, History Books, Geography Books, Political Science Books and other IAS exam books.
Reference Books for IAS Prelims
The important reference books for IAS Prelims are listed below.
1. IAS Solved Papers
Section-wsie solved papers help you to analyse number and type of questions from different topics each year. You can understand the current trend of UPSC questions from this book.
2. GS Manual for Paper 1
Mc-Graw Hill’s General Studies Manual is a highly recommended reference manual for all topics of Paper 1. You can find all information at one place and the information is very reliable.
3. CSAT Manual for Paper 2
Mc-Graw Hill’s CSAT Manual covers all the topics of Paper 2 in complete detail with many test questions and examples. No need to refer any other book for Paper 2.
4. Manorama Year Book (MYB)
A good Year Book is must for IAS Prelims preparation. MYB is a recommended source for general knowledge information. It’s international events section is also very useful.
5. India Year Book (IYB)
IYB is the official govt. publication and very important source of all the schemes and facts and figures related to census and other topics like defence, economy, agriculture, education etc.
6. Oxford Student Atlas
A reliable atlas is a must for Prelims and Mains to tackle map-based questions. Oxford Atlas has high quality and accurate maps of India and the World. Practice for 30 minutes daily.
Topic-wise IAS Books for Prelims
Apart from reference books, you also need to read topic-wise IAS Books for Prelims which are given below:
1. Indian Polity by Laxmikanth
Mc Graw Hill’s Indian Polity book covers the entire Constitution – Artciles, Schedules and Amendments- in detail. The language is easy to grasp for lay readers. The latest developments in polity are also covered.
2. Environment and Ecology by Majid Hussain
This is avery important topic for Prelims and Mains and many questions are asked from it. Majid Hussains book covers this topic in detail including recent developments on climate change, global warming, various international agreements etc.
3. Struggle for Independence by Chandra
Most questions on Indian History are asked from the Modern History part and the best book to tackle it is Bipin Chandra’s India’s Struggle for Independence. This book starts from the 1857 Revolt and continues right till the independence period.
4. Brief History of Modern India
What Bipin Chandra’s book leaves out, Spectrum’s Brief History covers well including Social Reform movements of 19th Century, important details of all the pro-independence movements of 20th Century etc. It is a handy reference book for Modern Indian History.
Note: Also refer NCERT text books on Ancient, Medieval and Modern India.
5. Indian Art and Culture
As you know Art and Culture is an important topic for both Prelims and Mains. Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania covers all the aspects of this topic in detail so you don’t have to refer different sources for information on Indian art and culture.
6. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
Mc Graw Hill’s Indian Economy covers the entire Economy syllabus quite well. It covers all the relevant sub-sectors of Indian economy like Planning, Industrialization and Policy, Agriculture, Economic Reforms, Inflation, Banking, External Trade and so on
7. Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong
Another very important book to read is Certificate Course in Physical Geography by Goh Cheng Leong to tackle questions related to physical geography. Whether it’s Climate, Earthquakes, Winds, or Oceans everything is covered in this book on Physical Geography.
Also refer class XI and XII Geography NCERTs
GS MAINS BOOKS FOR IAS
This section lists all the important books for all 4 General Studies papers of IAS Mains exam.
Books for GS Paper 1
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
Facets of Indian Culture by Spectrum
A New Look at Modern Indian History by BL Grover
India Since Independence by Bipin Chandra
A History of Modern World by Ranjan Chakravarti
India’s Struggle for Independence and New Look at Modern Indian History cover the period from 19th century to India’s independence. Both books are required since the former presents the entire period in the proper perspective and narrative while BL Grover’s book lists the various acts and reforms during the British period in point-wise format which is easier to grasp and reproduce in the Mains paper. I recommend you get both the books.
Facets of Indian Culture is a short but precise book on Indian culture and heritage topics.Answers to 2, 3 and 5 mark questions on this topic can be easily located in this book.
India Since Independence covers the period from 1947 to present times and is authored by Bipin Chandra, renowned author on Modern Indian History.
A History of the Modern World deals with World History topics including French and Industrial revolutions, World Wars and accompanying political changes in the world.
Certificate Physical and Human Geography by Goh Cheng Leong
Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussain
NCERTs of class XI and XII
Goh Cheng Leong’s book is a must-read book for Physical Geography for Mains as well as Prelims. You can expect questions testing your knowledge of Geography basics from this book.
Indian and World Geography by Majid Hussain is another recommended book for economic geography and World geography topics.
Book on Development, Participation, Secularism, Women Issues
India: Development and Participation by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze
This is the best book I can recommend for authoritative understanding of the above issues. Since questions relating to development and its costs will be more analytical than factual Amartya Sen’s book will help you develop the critical understanding to tackle this tricky topic.
Books for GS Paper 2
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations)
Our Constitution by Subhash Kashyap
Our Parliament by Subhash Kashyap
Governance in India by M Laxmikanth
International Relations in 21st Century by Pushpesh Pant
Our Constitution is the recommended book on Indian Polity for Mains as well as Prelims. Its explanatory as well as analytical writing style is well suited for Mains.
Our Parliament is also authored by Subhash Kashyap and explains all the parliamentary processes, committees and procedures in detail.
Governance in India by Laxmikanth is a good book to get an overview of the administrative setup in India. It has detailed chapters on civil services as well apart from state and union governments, legislative bodies etc.
International Relations by Pushpesh Pant is a recommended book to understand India’s relations with the international community, its foreign policy, various regional organizations and changing dynamics in South Asia.
Books for GS Paper 3
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)
Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
Indian Economy: Performance and Policies by Uma Kapila
Environment & Ecology: Biodiversity, Climate Change & Disaster Management by Majid Hussain
Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh is a must-read book for Mains as well as Prelims to understand the basic economic concepts. Before you delve into analytical concepts, you should know the fundamentals of Indian economy and related economic terms; this book does this job really well.
Uma Kapila’s book focusses on the current economic issues and is updated almost every year. Very good book for analysis of current economic issues and tackling related questions in the GS paper.
Economic Survey of India released by the Finance Ministry every year before the budget presentation is a must-read book for Mains as well as Prelims. Questions directly related to the economic survey have been asked in the Mains GS papers in the past and you just cannot ignore this vital book without losing precious marks.
Environment and Ecology by Majid Hussain is a one-stop book for all issues related to environment and ecology including disaster management in India; for both Mains as well as Prelims. Highly recommended book.
Books for GS Paper 4
(Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude for Civil Services Main Examination by Subba Rao
GS Paper 4 focusses on ethics and integrity in civil services and your aptitude for it. Questions in this topic are far from straight forward and will test your resolve to serve the country without fear or favour or consideration for personal profit. Subba Rao’s book not only helps in understanding of ethics and integrity concepts but contains several case studies to prepare you for questions based on this topic.
Apart from these recommended books for GS Mains for IAS, you should also read news articles and editorials from newspapers like Indian Express and The Hindu. Also you should stay updated with the latest development in the field of Science and technology, Ecological issues, International Relations, Polity, Economic developments through online and offline news sources.
BOOKS FOR IAS OPTIONALS
Above, I've listed and described books for IAS Prelims and GS Mains books in detail. You can also find recommended books for popular IAS optional subjects for Mains exam by following the links below:
- Public Administration Books for IAS Exam
- Sociology Books for IAS Mains
- History Books for UPSC Civil Services Exam
- Geography Books for Civil Services Exam
- Political Science Books for IAS