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Recommended Geography Books for IAS Exam

Last Updated on April 8 2014

Geography is the second most popular optional opted by IAS aspirants after Public Administration. In fact Geography and Pub Ad is quite a popular optional combination as well. The reasons for Geography being a popular optional are the well defined syllabus, its semi-scientific nature, map based questions that are easy to score off. No wonder Geography fetches good marks in the IAS Mains exam.

But to score well you need to study the recommended books as well. So which are the Geography books highly recommended by successful IAS aspirants? Find out below.

Comprehensive Geography by D.R Khullar

Whenever you start preparing a subject don’t dive into a specialized topic straightaway rather learn more about the subject as a whole, its key concepts so you can identify its important sections and plan accordingly. For this reason Khullar’s Comprehensive Geography is such a nice introduction about the key concepts of Geography.

From physiography, climate, environment to transport, agriculture, and foreign trade, Comprehensive Geography is truly comprehensive in scope. Written with a focus on India, this book for geography is equally useful and recommended for both, paper 1 and 2. Beginners to Geography should especially go through this book to get a hang of the subject.

Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Physical Geography is a highly recommended book for physical geography by people who have emerged successful in the civil services exam. Physical Geography by Savindra Singh covers all relevant topics relating to physical geography like Earth’s origin, age, its structure, movements and physical features like rocks, plateaus, plains.  Apart from this it covers all the topics relating to Atmosphere and Hydrosphere.

If you take a look at the Geography syllabus, you will realize Physical Geography covers a good part of Geomorphology, Climatalogy, and Oceanography. A must read book for Geography paper 1.

 Geography through Maps by K Siddhartha

If you look at the Geography paper 2 syllabus you will notice it mentions

Candidates will be required to answer one compulsory map question pertinent to subjects covered by this paper

So candidates will surely encounter one map based question in the Geography paper. But you shouldn’t let go of this golden opportunity to score some easy marks by practicing maps through K Siddhartha’s Geography through Maps. K Siddhartha is a renowned coach for geography and his classes in Delhi at Ensemble are much in demand. In Geography through Maps the picture of the whole world has been presented in a sequential manner so that at no point the reader finds it monotonous, dull or uninteresting. In fact K Siddhartha has ensured that by studying Geography through Maps students will be able to locate places and natural resource regions easily and thus score guaranteed marks in the IAS mains exam.

Human Geography by Majid Hussain

The second paper focuses on Indian geography in relation to the human aspects of population, urbanization, planning, economy and so on. Human Geography looks into these aspects very lucidly. The book contains detailed maps and diagrams to aid your learning and contains references from the developed and developing parts of the world. Human Geography by TMH is recommended for getting a basic understanding of the second paper.

Geography of Population by RC Chandna

As the title suggests this book dwells on the Population aspects of the second paper and is a specialized book for this purpose. Population Geography explains all the relevant topics like migration, demographic attributes, patterns of settlements, etc in easy to understand manner. The latest edition of this book takes the 2001 census as its base to explore population aspects in detail. Population Geography is recommended to study this important topic of paper 2 in detail.

Regional Planning in India by Puri and Chand

Planning is the backbone of India’s economic system. The concept of 5-year plans was borrowed from the erstwhile Soviet Union and continues to form the basis of the economic system in India. But now the focus has shifted from top-down to bottom-up planning and hence the importance shown to regional planning in the Paper 2 syllabus.

For this reason you should study Regional Planning in India to cover topics like regional imbalances, tribal development and environmental issues, urbanization process etc. Regional Planning is recommended as reading a generic textbook for a specialized topic like planning may not be the best approach towards Geography paper 2.

Models in Geography by Majid Hussain

The final section of the Geography syllabus deals with models, theories and laws. To tackle these topics Majid Hussain has written yet another useful book called Models in Geography. This book explains all the important models and theories in a very lucid and cogent manner. Beginners as well as those having some background in Geography will find it useful.

More specifically Models in Geography  covers the following models: Malthusian, Marxian, Agricultural Land Use and Demographic Transitional apart from these theories: Central Place Theory, Theory of Industrial Location, Rostow’s Stages of Growth, Heartland and Rimland Theories besides others. Hussain was thoughtful enough to also include a chapter on Climate Change, which is useful not just for Geography but GS Mains as well.

This wraps up books for Geography for IAS mains exam. If you have some more suggestions or doubts you can leave your valued comments below. Happy reading 🙂

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