Detailed Booklist and Weblinks for UPSC Mains – GS 1

Every aspirant has confusion on which book to follow especially for Mains. For example: in Polity Lakxmikant will be helpful mainly for prelims. Many forget that Polity mains syllabus is different from prelims as a result often even rank holders score very average marks in GS paper 2 (Including myself).

Suggesting, a detailed booklist will help you to know only basics. If everyone read from the same source then all your answers will be same. So to clear you should “work a step ahead of others” for which you need to collect examples, Current affairs to add value to your answers.

So hereby I compiled detailed booklist syllabus wise. This is solely based on my experience and don’t pinpoint me if I have missed anything.

By giving links to books -I am not earning anything – this website is purely not for profit. I am just easing your search.

GS Paper 1: 

1.Indian Culture :   


Source 2 : Gaurav Agarwal – 2013 AIR – Suggested compilation

Art and Culture 1 -pdf

Art and Culture 2 – pdf


Either of the sources will be holding good. If you read from the second source you need to prepare on your own for numismatics and Pottery art.

2. Modern India History – 

  • After reading basic NCERTs (Prelims booklist)
  • Modern India Bipin Chandra
  • Spectrum Modern India -You need this to comprehensively cover Mains. But it is more factual than analytical so use it for covering syllabus but for analysis kind of thinking you need the following book.
  • India Struggle for Independence Bipin Chandra (A must for analytical mindset on history) – Make notes from it after 2 reads.

Above source is enough.


3.Post-Independence Consolidation:

  • India Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra


Any of the above sources is enough. But my suggestion is read Bipin Chandra once and then use Vision IAS for revision or for further reads.


4.World History – 

Many spend one whole month after prelims to read this . Just one or two question comes from it and that too at basic level.So dont spend much time on it.

  • Shankar IAS world history book


  • Vision IAS world history pdf – Sorry I don’t have the link for it. Either search for yourself in telegram groups or go for source 1.

Any of the above sources is enough.

For political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism and Socialism etc…. (one question sure in GS or Essay on this – search on the internet and make your own detailed notes) – My notes – Communism, Capitalism and Socialism

5.Salient Features of the Indian Society – 

  • 9th to 12th NCERT is enough
  • Daily newspaper reading must understand basic concepts like poverty, illiteracy, migration etc…

Reference book : if you want :

6.Role of Women and Women’s organization  Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism 

  • No specific book
  • Search on the internet to find about each thing – make notes with examples -> mostly current affairs is asked. So supplement your notes with Current Affairs.

7.Geography :

Everyone fails here, especially non -geo optional students. They restrict themselves to NCERTS and GC Leong. It’s not enough. UPSC went one step ahead and started asking technical ones. So you must read following.

  • NCERT 6th to 12th
  • GC leong
  • Savindra Singh Physical Geography – Geomorphology, Climatology and Oceanography – Around 20 lessons.

8.Distribution of Key Natural Resources –

  • Savindra Singh Physical Geography –  Resources lesson
  • Mrunal ppt  – Download Key natural resources section
  • Follow current affairs -sometimes recent trend like shale gas are also asked.

9. Location of Industries :

Above two sources is enough.

10. Important Geographical phenomena :

  • Savindra Singh Physical Geography
  • Current Affairs.


You are free to search anything other than above to quench your knowledge thirst. But as for as myself the above list is more than enough.


  • Keep your source as small as possible – else revision will be difficult
  • Don’t restrict yourself in initial days – widen your knowledge until you understand
  • Don’t take notes until the 3rd read.
  • Don’t buy all books at the same time – read few and then buy remaining. Books piling up will lead to depression :).

“Humanity is giving hands to others and let them not to experience those suffering that you have faced”


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