There is too much information about UPSC Civil Services on the internet. Most of which may end up confusing and overwhelming you.
Every student is different with their strengths and weaknesses located in different subjects and areas. Hence, there cannot be just one list that will cover every book you must read to prepare for UPSC Prelims and Mains. We made a recommended and updated booklist for every UPSC aspirant out there – not just for clearing the exams but also to get the highest marks possible.
Best Books For Studying UPSC Civil Services!
However, if you are serious about appearing for UPSC and wondering where to begin and how to take your studying forward, these UPSC study materials and books will be your holy grail.
1. NCERT Books
Every UPSC aspirant swears by NCERT books. These books help you to build your foundation in every subject. Hence, to form your basics, you have to study NCERT books for classes 6 to 12. You aren’t supposed to rely on just these books. NCERT books should be read along with other books for a more comprehensive view of every subject. You can get the book here! 📖
2. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth
Indian Polity is a complex subject. It’s extremely wide and engulfs several topics, for example, the development of the constitution, fundamental rights of the citizens, Directive Principles, the Judiciary, etc. Indian Polity is a subject that allows you to learn about your country in great detail. Just one book for this subject won’t be sufficient. However, as a starting point, Indian Polity by M. Laxminath is the best book for Civil Service Exams aspirants to read. You can get the book here! 📖
3. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
Indian Heritage and Culture may seem a vast subject, but it’s fascinating. Especially with this book, your studying experience will be even more enhanced as it contains many pictures and photographs of paintings and architecture. You will also find chapter-wise questions that will help you to determine important sections for further reading. Overall, it’s a must-read book for all aspirants. You can get the book here! 📖
4. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
India’s struggle for Independence is one of the most important chapters of India’s history. In fact, a vast chunk of India’s history is all about its freedom struggle. There were so many movements led by different freedom fighters that brought India its Independence. There are many books on India’s Independence; however, very few of these books bridge all the gaps. Bipin Chandra’s book India’s Struggle for Independence is the best book for learning about India’s freedom struggle. No matter how small a movement was, this book will include its description for sure. Thus, making it an essential read. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Indian Economy: For UPSC Civil Services & Other State PSC Examinations by Ramesh Singh
There are many Economics books out there that will teach you the laws and concepts of the subject. But what if I tell you there is an Economics book that is specially written according to the UPSC syllabus? Won’t that be amazing? Ramesh Sharma’s book Indian Economy for Civil Services is like a holy grail for UPSC aspirants. This book teaches you the basics and helps you understand and establish links with the current economic changes happening in the country. With its revised edition, you will also get to learn about the implications of the pandemic COVID-19 on India’s economy. This book is a must-read for students as it contains a whole glossary of important terms, Multiple Choice Questions, and Model Answers, hence making your life as an aspirant easier. You can get the book here! 📖
6. Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu
India’s Constitution is not only incredibly vast but also fascinating. No matter how much you read about it in different history books, you will still need a separate book to understand it in its complete glory. Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu is the best book on this topic. You will not only learn about the making of our Constitution, but your knowledge about its philosophy, features, and nature will also expand by multiple folds. The content of this book is extremely rich, making it a widely loved book amongst aspirants. So, if you are starting to prepare for the exams, you should definitely add this book to your list. You can get the book here! 📖
7. A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir
In this book, Author Rajiv Ahir takes you back to the time of arrival of the Europeans. You also learn about how the British established its rule over India, followed by India’s struggle for Independence. This book covers a lot of gaps. There’s a lot of information in this book that you will find almost brand new. The Brief History of Modern India is a good side read to expand your knowledge on this topic. You can get the book here! 📖
8. Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy By Rajiv Sikri
The best way to learn about a certain topic or subject is by reaching out to an expert on that particular discipline. This is the primary reason why I am recommending this book. Rajiv Sikri worked with the Indian Foreign Service for more than 36 years as a career diplomat. In 2006, he retired from his position as a secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. And since the author has immense expertise and experience in the subject, he effortlessly teaches you about India’s relationship with other countries. This will help you to form significant points on debatable topics regarding India’s foreign strategies. So, if you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend getting your hands on this one. You can get the book here! 📖
9. India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
There are several books on India’s Freedom Struggle. But very few books cover what happened after India got its Independence. India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha is an award-winning book that will take you through the conflicts and the plight of the countrymen after the country got its Independence. You will learn about the women, peasants, and artists – who lost so much, but their stories never got recognized by the mass. You will get insights about personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, who shaped those initial years of the democratic republic of India. This book is no less than a masterpiece and will help you form opinions regarding debatable topics as well. You could consider this book as a side read; however, my recommendation will be to devour this book. You can get the book here! 📖
10. Geography of India by Majid Husain
Indian Geography by Majid Hussain is a bestselling book on this subject. It’s a comprehensive book that has been written keeping in mind the UPSC syllabus; hence, it’s tailor-made for the aspirants, making it a must-read. Other than the usual topics, this book also consists of recent events such as the cyclone Amphan, COVID-19 pandemic, Vizag gas leak, Locust attack, Indo-China crisis, etc. It’s one of the most comprehensive books on Indian Geography; hence, every student should definitely add it to their reading list if they are seriously preparing for the UPSC exams. You can get the book here! 📖
When preparing for Civil Service Exams, reading different books on a single topic is always a good idea. You will definitely come across new information that will give you an advantage over someone who is limiting their reading to just one book. This will also help you improve your personality because the more you read, the better your grip on debatable topics. Although there are many more books than the ones listed above, these ten books are the best ones to read for UPSC Civil Services. So, what are you waiting for? Add them to your cart and start preparing!
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