Table of Contents
- 1 Books for Indian Art and Culture
- 2 Books for Modern Indian History and Freedom Struggle
- 3 Books for Post-Independence Consolidation
- 4 Books for Modern World History
- 5 Books for Geography GS I
- 6 Books for Indian Polity
- 7 Books for International Relations
- 8 Books for Indian Economy
- 9 Books for Environment
- 10 Books for Science and Technology
- 11 Books for Internal Security
- 12 Books for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
- 13 Books for Essay
- 14 Books for Prelims
Books for Indian Art and Culture
GS I Syllabus: Indian Heritage and Culture
- Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
- It is a good starting point before jumping to books.
- Drawback: Random articles that are not well organized with respect to history and art and culture syllabus. They only cover a fraction of the syllabus.
- 100% UPSC CSE oriented.
- Written by a topper whose has a good reputation for his Art and Culture notes.
- Important words are highlighted (As art and culture is full of facts this is important).
- Art and culture is intrinsically unending and UPSC is unpredictable. So the book is 600+ pages.
- You must make short notes for quick revision as art and culture keeps testing your memory power.
- Going for other sources is not at all recommended due to time constraints.
- No matter how much you focus on art and culture there will always be questions asked by UPSC that are simply unanswerable. Just chill and focus on sure shot subjects like Indian Polity, Indian Economy and Economic Survey, Modern Indian History, latest schemes and current affairs, etc.
- Better take up art and culture at the end (after completing the sure shot subjects).
Books for Modern Indian History and Freedom Struggle
GS I Syllabus: Modern Indian History
- Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century (middle of the 18th century means from the 1750s) until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
- The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
- 100% exam oriented.
- Covers almost all the facts required for both prelims and mains.
- Covers entire syllabus from the ‘Advent of Europeans to India’ to recent major events in India’s Freedom Struggle.
- The nature of UPSC prelims and mains questions has changed from ‘fact or event-based’ to ‘analytical’. So you must emphasize on the analytical part without ignoring the factual part.
- This is the reproduced version of old NCERTs.
- It is a condensed version of India’s Struggle for Independence: 1857-1947.
- Unlike India’s Struggle for Independence: 1857-1947it covers events that occurred prior to 1857 (Mughal era, the advent of Europeans to India, etc.).
- A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) is time-saving and easy compared to books by Bipin Chandra.
- It covers the analytical part nicely. It will help you improve your mains history answer writing skills.
- It is written more like a movie script. If you are not an avid reader of storybooks you will really struggle to focus. It is more like a sleeping pill (especially for those that find history boring).
- Biggest drawback: It doesn’t cover events that occurred prior to 1857. You have to cover the left out portion from A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum).
- A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) is itself a huge book (700+ pages). You may not get enough time to cover Bipin Chandra. You should try skimming through this book to cover some important topics.
Books for Post-Independence Consolidation
GS I Syllabus: Modern Indian History – Post-Independence Consolidation
- Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country (how India took it’s shape after British left – various secessionist movements, formation and merging of new states till the formation of Telangana).
- Both the books are equally good and are written by the most eminent historians. But I personally prefer the book by Ramachandra Guha as he has written books on diverse topics related to Indian history and society.
- Notes that you don’t have to cover the entire book for ‘Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country’. There are only 6-7 chapters that need to be covered.
- But for Modern Indian History topics post 1947 like the emergency, Indo-Pak wars, etc. (Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present– significant events, personalities, issues) you must skim through the remaining chapters.
- Note that these are quite lengthy books and you shouldn’t read from cover to cover. You must only focus on significant topics like the emergency, Indo-Pak wars, Jayaprakash Narayan, Periyar E. V. Ramasamy (Self-Respect Movement), etc.
Books for Modern World History
GS I Syllabus: Modern World History
- History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.
- You must begin your world history preparation from here.
- The content is simple and very easy to understand. Mrunal.org world history compilation covers a significant portion of the modern world history syllabus.
- As modern world history is not relevant for Prelims GS I you need to take up modern world history after completing Indian Polity, Indian Economy, Geography, Environment, Indian Modern History, etc. unless you have plenty of time at hand.
- A very good book with a simple language.
- The biggest drawback is that this book doesn’t cover events that occurred prior to WW I.
- The book is quite lengthy and explains every event quite comprehensively (not good due to time constraints).
- You must skim through this book rather than reading it word by word.
- This is the contemporary version of OLD NCERT.
- Most of the topics are covered by Modern World History OLD NCERT compilation by Mrunal.org
- You should cover this for the left out topics.
Books for Geography GS I
GS I Syllabus: Geography
- Salient features of world’s physical geography.
- Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent);
- factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
- Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,
- geographical features and their location (examples: why are coral reefs located on the eastern side of the continents, why are there no volcanoes in the Himalayas, why Japan witnesses so many earthquakes, etc.)
- changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes (examples: coral bleaching, global warming and cryosphere, mudslides in the Himalayas, shrinking rainforests, destruction of mangroves, etc.).
For Geography we strongly recommend our own notes. You can get it in PDF format from here.
- Our notes saves you a lot of time and money.
- Lot of complex concepts are explained in a ‘very easy to understand’ manner.
- Doesn’t cover Industrial Locational factors. You can refer mrunal.org/geography for this.
- Lengthy notes (can’t help. Geography is intrinsically broad and complex).
- It is a compilation made from all the core books below.
- Pmfias.com Geography + Mrunal.org Geography + Regular Current Affairs should be enough to cover geography for GS.
- If you prefer reading geography from core books then continue reading.
- There is no one single book for Geography that covers everything (Pmias.com Geography + Mrunal.org Geography + Regular Current Affairs should be enough to cover geography for GS).
- Spectrum’s Geography is one book that covers 60-80% of Geography syllabus required for GS Geography.
- These are books written from the academic perspective. Reading these books is an overkill unless you have opted for Geography Optional.
- Covers only Physical Geography.
- Language is tough for beginners and non-geography students.
- Covers a major portion of the syllabus.
- Language is really tough for beginners and non-geography students.
- Books is meant for Geography Optional students. It is certainly an overkill for GS.
- Apart from the title, the book doesn’t cover anything from Human Geography.
- Climatic regions are explained really well.
- Book is meant for Geography Optional students. It is certainly an overkill for GS.
- Indian Geography by Kullar and Indian Geography by Majid Hussain are academic books and for Geography Optional students. They are like 800 pages+ and you need a hell lot of time to actually read and understand them.
Books for Indian PolityIndian Polity 5th Edition by M. Laxmikanth
- Simple language and easy to understand.
- 100% Exam oriented book.
- This book helps you address mostly factual part of Indian Polity.
- Tough to understand. This book is not for beginners.
- You must take up this book only if you have any time left after going through M. Laxmikanth.
- This book helps you address the analytical part of Indian Polity.
Books for International Relations
- Any one of the above books should do the job.
- There are only a few questions asked from this part and most of the questions are based on current affairs.
- Read these books from cover to cover is not recommended. Just use them to get the background knowledge related to a specific topic.
Books for Indian Economy
- NCERTs are tough for a beginner. You should begin with Mrunal Patel Economy Videos and only after completing them you should go for NCERTs and Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh.
Books for Environment
For Environment we strongly recommend our own notes. You can get it in PDF format from here.
- Covers NIOS, NCERT and other important sources for Environment.
- Our notes save you a lot of time and money.
- A lot of complex concepts are explained in a ‘very easy to understand’ manner.
- Not updated since 2017.
Environment by Shankar IAS Academy
- A good book to cover the static part of the syllabus.
- Contains a lot of bloat. You need to be choosy.
Books for Science and TechnologyScience and Technology for Civil Services Examination by Ravi Agrahari
- The book explains all the important contemporary developments in the field of S&T.
- In my opinion this book in not required as most of the S&T questions are basically very general in nature and the majority of them are asked from recent developments.
- Most of the content that is required for CSE can be easily gathered from the web.
Books for Internal Security
Books for Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude
Books for EssaySelected Contemporary Essays by Saumitra Mohan
- In my opinion, there is no need to go for any book for the essay topic. Most of the essay writing skills have to be honed from answer writing practice and decoding the editorials.
- Also, you may not get time to actually go through this book.
Books for Prelims
Amazon Affiliate links / Images: Amazon Advertising API