Must-read books for UPSC Mains | Career Launcher

UPSC Mains is a descriptive exam consisting of 9 papers. Out of these, 2 are language papers that are qualifying in nature. In this article, we have discussed the books for UPSC Mains Exam that aspirants should read in order to write informative answers in the exam.

Generally, each question has to be answered in about 250 words. Hence, you should be well prepared with the content for each of the topics mentioned in the syllabus. In order to do so, you will need to read these recommended books for UPSC. However, before that, it is important that you read the syllabus carefully and stick to it while reading these books. You do not need to read anything that is outside the syllabus.

Books for UPSC Mains

General Studies I

The Wonder That Was India- A.L. Basham. (Culture)

India’s Ancient Past - R.S. Sharma. (Culture)

Indian Art and Culture - Nitin Singhania. (Culture)

A Brief History of Modern India - Spectrum Book (History)

History Of Modern India - Bipan Chandra. (History)

India’s Struggle For Independence - Bipan Chandra. (History)

India After Gandhi - Ramchandra Guha (History - GS1)

Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World - Jain and Mathur (World History - GS1)

Social Problems In India - Ram Ahuja. (Indian Society - GS1)

Geography of India - Majid Husain. (Geography)

Oxford School Atlas - Oxford. (Geography)

Certificate Physical and Human Geography - Goh Cheng Leong. (Geography)

General Studies II

Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations – M. Laxmikanth. 

Governance in India - M.Laxmikanth.

Pax Indica – Shashi Tharoor.

India and the World: Through the Eyes of Indian Diplomats by Surendra Kumar.

Introduction to the Constitution of India by Durga Das Basu.

Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta

NCERTs of Class XI and XII 

General Studies III

NCERT Class X – Understanding Economic Development 

NCERT Class XI – Indian Economic Development

NCERT Class XII – Macroeconomics (chapters 2,5 and 6 are very important)

Indian Economy for Civil Services Examinations – Ramesh Singh

Challenges to Internal Security of India by Ashok Kumar and Vipul

IGNOU Notes on Disaster Management.

IGNOU Notes on Cyber Security.

India Year Book

NITI Aayog Reports

Lok Sabha Question-Answers

General Studies IV

Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude – G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury

Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies Paper IV – Niraj Kumar

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – Santosh Ajmera & Nanda Kishore Reddy

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude – M Karthikeyan

Ethics in Governance: Innovations, Issues, and Instrumentalities – Ramesh K Arora

ARC Reports

In addition to this, you should note down the relevant points from current affairs to substantiate your answers and fetch more marks.

So, this is the list of recommended materials and books for the UPSC Mains exam. However, these are not to be read cover to cover. You must read only the topics that are mentioned in the syllabus. If you find it difficult to cover all the books in the short span of time, you can enroll in our Mains specific courses wherein our expert faculty will explain every topic mentioned in the syllabus comprehensively. Should you have any further doubts, please contact our course counselors.

Current Affairs analysis