UPSC Book List

7 minute read

Hailed as one of the toughest examinations around the world, UPSC is a tough nut to crack. Every year, tens of thousands of candidates apply for the 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 for 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 UPSC book list for your preparation that you must check out.

Name of the ExaminationUPSC Civil Services Examination
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Level of ExaminationNational Level
Mode of ExaminationPen and Paper
Duration of Examination2 hours per paper (Preliminary Exam)
3 hours per paper (Main Exam)
Stages of Examination1. Preliminary Exam
2. Main Exam
3. Personality Test (Interview) 
Maximum no. of Attempts6
Total no. of Services24
Official WebsiteUPSC Website

Also Read: How to Prepare for UPSC

UPSC Preliminary Examination

Before diving into the UPSC Book List, let’s understand the pattern of this exam. UPSC Preliminary Examination is the first qualifying stage of the exam. This stage comprises two  compulsory papers :

  1. General Studies I
  2. General Studies II or the Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT)

Both 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 with the help of the UPSC book list given below. Here are the top books that can help you get good marks in this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherLink
General Knowledge Capsule with Current Affairs Disha ExpertsBuy Here
Manorama YearbookMammen MathewBuy Here
Pratiyogita Darpan YearbookPratiyogita Darpan Editorial Team |Buy Here
Mathrubhumi YearbookMathrubhumi EditorialBuy Here
Current Affairs Yearly Arihant ExpertsBuy Here
Yojana MagazineGovernment of IndiaBuy 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 are often chosen as optional subjects during their main examination. So, here is the top history booklist that can help you with these sections: 

History Booklist for UPSC

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherLink
India’s Ancient PastR.S SharmaBuy Here
History of Modern IndiaBipin ChandraBuy Here
India’s Struggle for IndependenceBipin ChandraBuy Here
Modern India (Macmillan)Sumi SarkarBuy Here
India after IndependenceBipin ChandraBuy Here
A new look into the Modern Indian History B.L GroverBuy Here

Geography Booklist for UPSC

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Geography of IndiaMajid HusainBuy Here
Indian and World GeographyMajid HusainBuy Here
Oxford School AtlasOxford UniversityBuy Here
Quick Geography for Competitive ExamsDisha ExpertsBuy Here
Indian Art and Culture Nitin SinghaniaBuy Here
Certificate Physical and Human GeographyGC LeongBuy Here

Best Books for Polity and Governance

Just as tough as current affairs, Indian polity and governance are 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 is the UPSC book list that can help you with this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Indian PolityM.LaxmikanthBuy Here 
Important Acts that Transformed IndiaAlex Andrews GeorgeBuy Here
Important Judgements that Transformed IndiaAlex Andrews GeorgeBuy Here
An Introduction to the Constitution of IndiaD.D.BasuBuy Here 
The Constitution of IndiaP.M BakshiBuy Here
Governance in IndiaM.LaxmikanthBuy 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 booklist of Economics for UPSC books that can help you gain expertise in Economics:

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherLink
Indian EconomyRamesh SinghBuy Here  
Indian Economy Key ConceptsSankarganesh KBuy Here
The Indian EconomySanjiv VermaBuy Here
Quick Indian Economy for Competitive Exams Disha ExpertsBuy Here
Indian Economies – Principles, Policies and ProgressPearsonBuy Here
Indian Economy: Performance and PoliciesUma KapilaBuy Here
Indian EconomyMishra and PuriBuy Here
Indian EconomyR. Dutt and KPM SundaramBuy Here
International Economics Bo SoderstonBuy 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 is the UPSC book list that can help you with this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Environment and Ecology – A Complete GuideR.RajagopalanBuy Here
Environment for Civil Services and Prelims and MainsKhuller and RaoBuy Here
Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure R.RajagopalanBuy Here
Ecology and EnvironmentP.D. SharmaBuy Here
Textbook of Environmental Studies for Undergraduate courses Erach BharuchaBuy Here
Environment and EcologyArihant ExpertsBuy 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 is the UPSC book list that can help you with this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Encyclopedia of General ScienceArihant ExpertsBuy Here
General Science Disha ExpertsBuy Here
Quick General Science for Competitive ExamsDisha ExpertsBuy Here
Science and Technology for Civil Services ExamsRavi AgrahariBuy Here
1000 Plus Questions on General ScienceMcGraw HillBuy 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 can help you with this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
International Relations Vinay Kumar MalhotraBuy Here
International Relations: The Key ConceptsTerry O’Callaghan,
Martin Griffiths,
Steven C. Roach
Buy Here
International Relations in the 21st CenturyP.PantBuy Here
Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign PolicyRajiv SikriBuy Here
India’s Foreign Policy Since IndependenceV.P. DuttBuy Here
Pax IndicaShashi TharoorBuy Here
India’s Foreign Policy: Coping with the Changing WorldMuchkund DubeyBuy 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 is the UPSC book list that can help you get that grasp in this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Social Problems in IndiaRam AhujaBuy 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 TrendsRam AhujaBuy Here
Indian Society: A General Overview Dr B RamaswamyBuy Here
Indian Society: Themes and Social IssuesNadeem HasnainBuy 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 of current affairs from numerous newspapers and magazines specifically related to internal security. Here is the UPSC Book list that can help you ace this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Challenges to Internal Security of IndiaAshok Kumar Buy Here
Governance in IndiaM.LaxmikanthBuy Here
Internal Security in India- Issues and PerspectiveDr Shrikant ParanjpeBuy Here
Internal Security: Concepts, Dynamics and ChallengesLohit MataniBuy Here
Internal Security of IndiaDr Shrikant ParanjpeBuy 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 is the top UPSC book list that can help you ace the Ethics section:

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherLink
Ethics, Integrity & AptitudeG Subba Rao &
P N Roy Chowdhury
Buy Here
Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for
IAS General Studies Paper IV
Niraj KumarBuy Here
Ethics, Integrity and AptitudeSantosh Ajmera &
Nanda Kishore Reddy
Buy Here
Ethics, Integrity and Value in Public ServiceRamesh K AroraBuy Here
Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude M.KarthikeyanBuy 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 to write a legible essay with proper grammar, structure and presentation. Here are the top books that can help you with this section: 

Name of the BookAuthor/ PublisherLink
Mastering Essay and Answer WritingDr Awdhesh SinghBuy Here
Essays for Civil Services and Other Competitive ExamsPulkit KhareBuy Here
Selected Contemporary Essays Saumitra MohanBuy Here
Essay Paper For Civil Services Main ExaminationPavneet Singh and Sonali BansalBuy Here
151 Essays for IAS/ PCS & other Competitive ExamsDisha ExpertsBuy 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 is the UPSC book list that offer solved papers for you to practise:

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherLink
21 Years CSAT General Studies IAS Prelims
Topic-wise Solved Papers (Old Edition)
Disha ExpertsBuy Here
IAS General Studies Prelims Solved Papers Vishal PublicationsBuy Here
IAS Mains Chapterwise Solved Papers General Studies Arihant ExpertsBuy Here

Also Read: All NCERT Books for UPSC Exams

This blog covers a comprehensive UPSC book 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.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *