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General Studies Books – Topic wise Reference Books for UPSC Exams (CSE)

Since General Studies for UPSC Mains Exam is a vast subject, it helps to know the best reference books for the IAS exam preparation. Here, we have compiled a list of most effective General Studies books that would help you in preparation for Civil Services and other services exams conducted by the UPSC.

For Mains preparation, a candidate should follow a mix of NCERT Books, Government websites, standard reference books, newspapers along with new textbooks in the market. We will keep updating this page when new General Studies books and sources worth the time and money of candidates appear in the market, so keep visiting this page from time to time.

UPSC General Studies Books For Preliminary Examination

  1. 'Indian History - India's Struggle for Independence' by Bipin Chandra - NCERT Books ( XI & XII )
  2. 'Geography - NCERT Books and Certificate Physical and Human Geography' by Goh Cheng Leong.
  3. 'Indian Polity - Indian Polity' by M Laxmikanth
  4. 'Indian Economy - NCERT Books and Indian Economy' by Ramesh Singh
  5. 'General Science' - NCERT textbooks
  6. 'Mental Ability - Quantitative Aptitude' by R.S. Aggarwal
  7. Current Affairs - Magazines and Newspapers - The Hindu, Indian Express, Yojana Magazine, PIB Website

Topic Wise References for General Studies

Books on Indian History & Culture

  1. NCERT (+ 2 level) - Ancient India, Medieval India, Modern India.
  2. Publication Division: Gazetteer of India (Vol 2: History & Culture)
  3. Modern India - Spectrum Publication by Rajiv Ahir
  4. Bipin Chandra - Modern India
  5. NCERT Book - Class XI
  6. Indian Art and Culture - Nitin Singhania

Books on Geography

  1. NCERT: Physical Geography of India for X - XII Std
  2. School Atlas: Oxford or Orient Blackswan
  3. Khullar: India- A Comprehensive Geography
  4. National Journal - Kurukshetra, Yojana, Down to earth

Books on Indian Economy

  1. NCERT Class XI and XII
  2. Economic Survey
  3. The Economic Times, Business Standard, India Year Book
  4. Yojana
  5. Budget: Railway, Annual Financial Statement (AFS)
  6. The Hindu (Economy sections)
  7. Indian Economy - Ramesh Singh
  8. Indian Economy - Sanjiv Verma

Books on Social and National Issues

  1. Social Problem - Ram Ahuja
  2. Social Welfare Magazine - Published by Ministry of Social Welfare
  3. Yojana/Kurukshetra
  4. IIPA Journal

Books on Indian Polity

  1. NCERT (+2 level)-Textbooks
  2. Indian Polity - M Laxmikanth
  3. D.D. Basu-Indian Constitution
  4. Publication Division-Subhash C. Kashyap: Our Parliament
  5. P.M. Bakshi-Indian Constitution
  6. Our Constitution: Subhash C. Kashyap

Books on Science & Technology

  1. NCERT: (10 level) : Science
  2. (+2 level): Biology
  3. CSIR Magazine - Science Reporter
  4. Reports Of the Ministry of Science and Technology

Other Books for General Studies

  1. 'India Year Book' - This book covers all the important government schemes. The facts and figures related to various topics covered in competitive exams.
  2. 'India After Gandhi' by Ramchandra Guha - The books highlights the conflict and challenges of a newly Independent India.
  3. 'Pax Indica' by Sashi Tharoor - The book deals with the bilateral relations of India with major global powers, issues, and challenges in India's relation to the global power.
  4. 'World History' by Norman Lowe - It covers the world history from the First World War to recent events such as Arab spring. It highlights all the important global issues, their causes, and impact on the global issues.
  5. 'Challenges to the Internal Security of India' - The books covers all the aspect of India's internal security viz: Left-wing extremism, Terrorism, North East Insurgency etc.
  6. 'India Unbound' by Ramchandra Guha - The book covers the growth of India from poverty to prosperity embedded beautifully in the author's personal - professional journey.
  7. 'An Uncertain Glory' by Amartya Sen - The book gives detail analysis of all the important development issues such as poverty, unemployment etc. which are hindering the progress of India.

Importance of UPSC GS Books

Studying from the right books is as important as getting coaching from the right institute. Firstly, it is important to get hold of the latest syllabus for the examination and then choose the most relevant and recent General Studies books. Out of the many options available, choose the one which is easy to comprehend and includes all the important chapters. No book can guarantee success, but it is important to study the best material available to you in order to ensure that you are preparing to your best ability.

Apart from the conventional wisdom of books and class notes, it is also very important as well as a smart strategy to judiciously use the technology and other internet sources which greatly help in IAS preparation. It is the combined knowledge from above mentioned General Studies Books and good linking of that knowledge from current affairs which will eventually help a candidate sail through the exam.


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