UPSC Book List

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Hailed as one of the toughest examinations around the world, UPSC is a tough nut to crack. This year, more than 43,921 candidates applied for UPSC examination in hopes of fulfilling their dream to become civil officers. It is a nationwide competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit eligible candidates into the higher civil services of India such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service(IPS). So, we must use the best resources available to prepare, which foremost includes books. A good UPSC book can help you crack the exam in one go, provided you make the best use of it. So, we have curated a list of the best books for UPSC preparation that you must check out

Name of the Examination UPSC Civil Services Examination
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Level of Examination National Level
Mode of Examination Pen and Paper
Duration of Examination 2 hours per paper (Preliminary Exam)
3 hours per paper (Main Exam)
Stages of Examination 1. Preliminary Exam
2. Main Exam
3. Personality Test (Interview) 
Maximum no. of Attempts 6
Total no. of Services 24
Application Fee Rs.100
Date of Preliminary Examination October 10, 2021
Date of Main Exam January 7, 8, 9, 1 5 and 16, 2022
Official Website UPSC Website

Also Read: How to Prepare for UPSC

UPSC Preliminary Examination

UPSC Preliminary Examination is the first qualifying stage of the exam. This stage comprises two  compulsory papers :

Both the papers are conducted on the same day

UPSC Main Examination

If you have successfully cleared the preliminary round of the UPSC exam, you are allowed to appear for the UPSC main examination. Here, you must take 9 theoretical papers, which comprises of:

  • 2 language papers
  • 1 essay paper
  • 4 general papers 
  • 2 optional subject papers 

All the papers are conducted over 5-7 days. For the main examination, a separate hall ticket is issued to the qualified candidates.

Best Books for Current Affairs

Current affairs play a very significant role in the UPSC examination since it forms a part of all 3 stages of the examination. Hence, you must brush up on your knowledge of current affairs daily. Here are the top books that can help you get good marks in this section: 

Name of the Book Author/Publisher Link
General Knowledge Capsule with Current Affairs  Disha Experts Buy Here
Manorama Yearbook Mammen Mathew Buy Here
Pratiyogita Darpan Yearbook Pratiyogita Darpan Editorial Team | Buy Here
Mathrubhumi Yearbook Mathrubhumi Editorial Buy Here
Current Affairs Yearly  Arihant Experts Buy Here
Yojana Magazine Government of India Buy Here

Best UPSC Books for History and Geography

When it comes to the topics of history and geography, they are quite popular among the candidates and is often chosen as an optional subject during their main examination. So, here are the top books that can help you for these sections: 

History Books

Name of the Book Author/Publisher Link
India’s Ancient Past R.S Sharma Buy Here
History of Modern India Bipin Chandra Buy Here
India’s Struggle for Independence Bipin Chandra Buy Here
Modern India (Macmillan) Sumi Sarkar Buy Here
India after Independence Bipin Chandra Buy Here
A new look into the modern Indian history  B.L Grover Buy Here

Geography Books

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Geography of India Majid Husain Buy Here
Indian and World Geography Majid Husain Buy Here
Oxford School Atlas Oxford University Buy Here
Quick Geography for Competitive Exams Disha Experts Buy Here
Indian Art and Culture  Nitin Singhania Buy Here
Certificate Physical and Human Geography GC Leong Buy Here

Also Read: History Questions for UPSC & SSC Exams 2021

Best Books for Polity and Governance

Just as tough as current affairs, Indian polity and governance is known for being an essential part of all three stages of the UPSC examination. You must be well-versed in an array of topics like the Constitution of India, The Preamble and The Presidency. Here are the top books that can help you with this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth Buy Here 
Important Acts that Transformed India Alex Andrews George Buy Here
Important Judgements that Transformed India Alex Andrews George Buy Here
An Introduction to the Constitution of India D.D.Basu Buy Here 
The Constitution of India P.M Bakshi Buy Here
Governance in India M.Laxmikanth Buy Here

Also Read: List of Important Articles in Indian Constitution

Best Books for Economics

The knowledge of Economics helps you understand the transfer of wealth in society. It is imperative to have a strong grasp of this subject to truly understand the functioning of a country or an economy. So, here is the list of UPSC books that can help you gain expertise in Economics:

Name of the Book Author/Publisher Link
Indian Economy Ramesh Singh Buy Here  
Indian Economy Key Concepts Sankarganesh K Buy Here
The Indian Economy Sanjiv Verma Buy Here
Quick Indian Economy for Competitive Exams  Disha Experts Buy Here
Indian Economies – Principles, Policies and Progress Pearson Buy Here
Indian Economy: Performance and Policies Uma Kapila Buy Here
Indian Economy Mishra and Puri Buy Here
Indian Economy R. Dutt and KPM Sundaram Buy Here
International Economics  Bo Soderston Buy Here

Best Books for Environment and Ecology

Environment and Ecology are also major subjects that are vastly covered in the preliminary stage of the UPSC examination. You must particularly concentrate on the sub-topics of biodiversity, social issues and environment as well as the role of IT in the environment. Here are the top books that can help you with this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Environment and Ecology – A Complete Guide R.Rajagopalan Buy Here
Environment for Civil Services and Prelims and Mains Khuller and Rao Buy Here
Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure  R.Rajagopalan Buy Here
Ecology and Environment P.D. Sharma Buy Here
Textbook of Environmental Studies for Undergraduate courses  Erach Bharucha Buy Here
Environment and Ecology Arihant Experts Buy Here

Best Books for Science and Technology

Science and Technology also form a major part of both preliminary and main examinations. You can expect a variety of questions related to current experiments, explorations and developments in this field. Here are the top books that can help you with this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Encyclopedia of General Science Arihant Experts Buy Here
General Science  Disha Experts Buy Here
Quick General Science for Competitive Exams Disha Experts Buy Here
Science and Technology for Civil Services Exams Ravi Agrahari Buy Here
1000 Plus Questions on General Science McGraw Hill Buy Here

Best Books for International Relations

International Relations is one of the core subjects that forms a part of both preliminary and main examination. You can also expect questions related to current affairs in this field. Here are the top books that cn help you with this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
International Relations  Vinay Kumar Malhotra Buy Here
International Relations: The Key Concepts Terry O’Callaghan,
Martin Griffiths,
Steven C. Roach
Buy Here
International Relations in the 21st Century P.Pant Buy Here
Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy Rajiv Sikri Buy Here
India’s Foreign Policy Since Independence V.P. Dutt Buy Here
Pax Indica Shashi Tharoor Buy Here
India’s Foreign Policy: Coping with the Changing World Muchkund Dubey Buy Here

Best Books for Indian Society 

You must brush up on your knowledge related to Indian Society and related topics. This subject appears in both stages of examination. Therefore, you must go through all the relevant books holistically to have a firm grasp of this subject. Here are the top books that can help you get that grasp in this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Social Problems in India Ram Ahuja Buy Here
Indian Society: For Civil Services Main Examination for GS Paper I  M. Senthil Kumar
and S Rijesh
Buy Here
Society in India: Concepts, Theories and Recent Trends Ram Ahuja Buy Here
Indian Society: A General Overview  Dr B Ramaswamy Buy Here
Indian Society: Themes and Social Issues Nadeem Hasnain Buy Here

Best Books for Internal Security

The subject of Internal Security is often neglected by candidates during their preparations for the main examination. However, they do form an essential part of the examination. You can easily attempt this paper by regularly updating your knowledge on current affairs from numerous newspapers and magazines specifically related to internal security. Here are the top books that can help you ace this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Challenges to Internal Security of India Ashok Kumar  Buy Here
Governance in India M.Laxmikanth Buy Here
Internal Security in India- Issues and Perspective Dr Shrikant Paranjpe Buy Here
Internal Security: Concepts, Dynamics and Challenges Lohit Matani Buy Here
Internal Security of India Dr Shrikant Paranjpe Buy Here

Best Ethics Books

Ethics and Values play a vital role in the smooth functioning of an administration system. In current times, the subject of ethics is slowly gaining prominence among candidates due to its short and crisp syllabus. However, you may face difficulty while attempting this paper, mainly because this subject implores you to write your individualistic opinion. Here are the top UPSC books list that can help you ace the Ethics section:

Name of the Book Author/Publisher Link
Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude G Subba Rao &
P N Roy Chowdhury
Buy Here
Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for
IAS General Studies Paper IV
Niraj Kumar Buy Here
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude Santosh Ajmera &
Nanda Kishore Reddy
Buy Here
Ethics, Integrity and Value in Public Service Ramesh K Arora Buy Here
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude  M.Karthikeyan Buy Here

Best Essay Books

As per the new syllabus, the weightage of Essays in the main examination is 250 marks, which forms a significant part of the final score. It falls at equal footage with the other papers. Hence, you must be thoroughly prepared in writing a legible essay with proper grammar, structure and presentation. Here are the top books that can help you with this section: 

Name of the Book Author/ Publisher Link
Mastering Essay and Answer Writing Dr Awdhesh Singh Buy Here
Essays for Civil Services and Other Competitive Exams Pulkit Khare Buy Here
Selected Contemporary Essays  Saumitra Mohan Buy Here
Essay Paper For Civil Services Main Examination Pavneet Singh and Sonali Bansal Buy Here
151 Essays for IAS/ PCS & other Competitive Exams Disha Experts Buy Here

Also Read: UPSC Essay Topics

Best Books for Solved Papers

Solving innumerable practice tests and mock tests can help build confidence and increase your chances of passing the UPSC examination with flying colours. You must revise and go through several past UPSC papers to anticipate potential questions and prepare for them accordingly. Here are the top books that offer solved papers for you to practise:

Name of the Book Author/Publisher Link
21 Years CSAT General Studies IAS Prelims
Topic-wise Solved Papers (Old Edition)
Disha Experts Buy Here
IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers  Vishal Publications Buy Here
IAS Mains Chapterwise Solved Papers General Studies  Arihant Experts Buy Here

Also Read: All NCERT Books for UPSC Exams

This blog covers a comprehensive UPSC books list preparation. There are many more reference books that you can also explore to increase your chances of clearing the examination. For more such informative content, stay connected to Leverage Edu and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Quora.

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