Taking inputs from toppers, we have prepared a detailed list of the best IAS books available in the market.
Aspirants can click on each link to buy books online at discounted prices.
- NCERT Text Books from Class 6 – 12 – NCERTs should be your starting point. Now you can buy NCERT books for UPSC as a bundle also.
GS Manuals for Prelims (All-in-One Guides)
- General Studies Paper 1 Manual – If you are a beginner, an all-in-one book can help you get a quick idea about the UPSC requirements. Manuals by Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Arihant are equally good. Buy any one book.
- General Studies Paper 2 Manual – Selective practice of MCQs from any 1 of the following books – Pearson, McGraw Hill, or Arihant should be sufficient.
UPSC Previous Year Question Papers
- Kiran Prakashan’s book for GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2 (CSAT) are excellent compilations for UPSC Prelims.
- Enroll in ClearIAS UPSC previous-year Questions Re-Take exams for Prelims GS Paper 1 and GS Paper 2. The solutions are based on the official UPSC keys available from 2011.
- IAS General Studies Preliminary Topic wise Solved Papers (Paper I and II) – New Vishal
- 24 Years UPSC IAS/ IPS Prelims Topic-wise Solved Papers 1 & 2 (1995-2018) – by Disha Experts
Standard Textbooks for UPSC Prelims
There are no replacements for standard reference textbooks for UPSC preparation. Click to buy online the textbooks for each subject mentioned in the UPSC syllabus (Prelims and Mains).
Indian History and Culture
- India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (Ancient India – Text Book)
- History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra. (Medieval India – Text Book)
- History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (Modern India – Text Book)
- India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra. (Modern India – Read like a story)
- The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham. (Ancient India and Culture)
- Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (For quick reference – Culture)
- Ancient and Medieval India – Poonam Dalal (For quick reference – Ancient and Medieval India)
- Modern Indian History – Sonali Bansal (For quick reference – Modern India)
- A Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum (For quick reference – Modern India)
Indian Geography and World Geography
- Oxford School Atlas – Oxford. (Geography)
- Geography of India – Majid Husain. (Indian Geography)
- World Geography – Majid Husain (World Geography)
- Physical Geography – Savindra Singh (Physical Geography)
- Human Geography – Majid Husain (Human Geography – Social and Economic)
- Certificate Physical and Human Geography – Goh Cheng Leong. (Physical and Human Geography)
Indian Polity and Constitution
- Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. (Polity)
- Important Judgments that Transformed India – Alex Andrews George (Constitution/Judiciary)
- Introduction to the Constitution of India – D. D. Basu (Constitution)
- Indian Economy – Ramesh Singh. (Economy)
- Indian Economy Key Concepts – Shankarganesh (Concepts)
- The Indian Economy – Sanjiv Verma (Advanced Economy Topics)
- Economic Survey. (Indian Economy Trends and Statistics)
Science and Technology
Environment – Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change
- Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure – Rajagopalan. (Environment)
- Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains – Khuller. (Environment)
- Environment – Shankar
- India Year Book (Current Affairs)
- Manorama Yearbook. (Current Affairs)
- ClearIAS Current Affairs Capsule [Monthly MCQs] (Current Affairs)
CSAT (For those weak in CSAT)
- Cracking the CSAT – Arihant (CSAT – Paper 2)
- Analytical Reasoning – M. K. Pandey (CSAT – Paper 2: Analytical Reasoning)
- Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning – R. S.Aggarwal (CSAT Paper 2: Reasoning)
For mains, most books for Prelims are useful. In addition to those, the following books should also help.
Essay (UPSC Mains Essay Paper)
India Since Independence (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)
- India Since Independence – Bipan Chandra
- India After Gandhi – Ramchandra Guha
- Post-Independence India – Sonali Bansal
World History (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)
- History of the World – Arjun Dev
- Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe
- World History – Krishna Reddy
- Modern World History – Uddipan
Indian Society (Part of UPSC Mains GS1 Paper)
- Indian Society: Themes and Social Changes – Nadeem Hasnain
- Social Problems In India – Ram Ahuja.
- Social Change in Modern India – M N Srinivas
- Indian Society – Senthil
Governance (Part of UPSC Mains GS2 Paper)
- Governance in India – Laxmikanth.
- Governance in India – M.Karthikeyan
- Current Issues – What’s Hot Today
- Esencia Current Affairs
Foreign Relations of India (Part of UPSC Mains GS2 Paper)
- International Relations – Pavneet Singh.
- Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor.
- India and the World by Surendra Kumar.
Internal Security (Part of UPSC Mains GS3 Paper)
- Internal Security – M.Karthikeyan.
- Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar.
- India’s Internal Security – Rajkumar.
- India’s National Security: A Reader – Bajpai.
Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude (UPSC Mains GS4 Paper)
- Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – Niraj Kumar.
- Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – M. Karthikeyan
- Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude – Subha Rao
Are there all-in-one manuals for UPSC Civil Services Main Exam?
Yes, you can get paper-wise books from the following links.
UPSC CSE Mains Previous Year Solved Question Paper Books
- IAS General Studies Main Solved Papers – New Vishal
- IAS Mains General Studies Solved Papers – Heed
- IAS Mains Chapterwise Solved Papers General Studies – Arihant
Books for UPSC Interview
- Civil Services Interview – Madhukar
- Common Mistakes At UPSC Civil Services Examination & How to Avoid Them – Abhishek Dular
- Current Issues – What’s Hot Today (ClearIAS ebook)
- Esencia Current Affairs
- Books for Optional subjects in UPSC Mains (Open the link and scroll down).
Latest UPSC Books (New Releases)
- Latest UPSC CSE Books: Click To Buy New Releases For UPSC Preparation.
- Subject Specific Book-List for IAS exam (For extra reference of each subject).
IAS Books in the Hindi Language
For many of the books listed above, corresponding books in the Hindi language are available in the market. Hindi medium students may check the link UPSC Books in the Hindi Language to buy online at discounted prices.
- The full list of UPSC books available in Amazon.
- The full list of UPSC books available in Flipkart.
- Recommended list of UPSC books available in Flipkart.
Free Online Resources For IAS Prelims and Mains
- NCERT Books Download.
- Yojana Magazine Download.
- Kurukshetra Magazine Download.
- IGNOU Books Download.
- Clear IAS Online Study Materials.
ClearIAS Prelims Mock Test Series
Tips regarding IAS book selection
- There is no single book which covers all topics of IAS exam Prelims and Mains. However, if you are short on resources and time, you may start from the Manuals (All-in-One Guides) for Prelims and Mains. Take mock exams, and refer additional text-books as and when time is available.
- Considering the competition and vast syllabus, UPSC exam preparation cannot be done without collecting some essential books.
- Photostats or PDFs supplied by coaching coaching institutes may not give you the right information and broad perspective. If you are an IAS/IPS/IFS aspirant, you should invest in good text books.
- Quality books act as add-ons to your online preparation and help a lot in self-study. If you follow ClearIAS Test-based approach to clear UPSC Prelims, most of the books mentioned above will get automatically covered as per the mentioned timetable.
- If you are running short of time to finish the syllabus before the exam, you may better focus on concise books instead of bulky ones. You can use Modern India by Spectrum (Rajiv Ahir IPS) then, which is a small book which covers almost all major points given in Modern India by Bipan Chandra. Similarly, you may just focus on Indian art and culture by Nithin Singhania IAS, for culture topics.
- ClearIAS.com publishes reviews on new IAS books in the market under our Book Review section. Publishers/authors can send us samples for review. Readers too can post the reviews about the UPSC books they bought in the comment section. That will be helpful for other aspirants for book selection.
- We keep updating this page when new books worth the time and money of candidate appear in the market. So come back to check this page again! ©ClearIAS.com