Anthropology Books for UPSC: Best Anthropology Books for UPSC

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : May 12th, 2022

Anthropology Books for UPSC are focused on the issues and topics related to the development and Indian culture. As per the student’s feedback and preference, Anthropology is one of the safest optional subjects in the UPSC exam. The Anthropology Books for UPSC would help the candidates to cover the anthropology syllabus in the best possible way. The syllabus of anthropology is much more streamlined, and if candidates used the right anthropology optional books, it will be easier for him/her to crack the civil services exam.

The key step is to understand the anthropology syllabus of the UPSC Mains exam, and then proceed with the preparation by choosing the Best Anthropology Books for UPSC.

Table of Content

Anthropology Optional Books for Paper 1

Below we have listed some of the highly recommended Anthropology Books for UPSC optional paper 1. As paper one includes topics like the development of anthropology, relationship with other disciplines, human evolution, etc. these following books would be the best choice.

  • Introducing Sociology NCERT Class XI
  • Measuring Time (Chapter 2) of Indian Prehistory – D.K Bhattacharya
  • Biology NCERT Class XII
  • Physical Anthropology – P. Nath
  • IGNOU MA Course for Anthropology
  • An Introduction to Social-Cultural Anthropology – N.K Vaid
  • An Introduction to Social Anthropology – D.N. Majumdar and T.N. Madan (for basic understating of Anthropology)
  • Anthropological Theories – Makhan Jha
  • Biology NCERT book For Class Xll (Chapter 5, 6, 7)

Anthropology Optional Books for Paper 2

When it comes to the Best Anthropology Books for UPSC optional paper 2, candidates must make their choice thoughtfully. Because this section includes very crucial topics included in Indian culture. Questions from this section can be asked in the interview round as well so candidates need to be well prepared. Below we have mentioned the Best Books for Anthropology Optional Paper 2.

  • Indian Anthropology -Nadeem Hasnain
  • Indian Society – NCERT Class XII
  • The Tribal Culture of India – LP Vidyarthi
  • Xaxa Report
  • Indian Society – NCERT Class XII
  • Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain
  • Anthropology Simplified- Vivek Bhasme
  • January 2014 edition of Yojana- Tribal and Marginalized Communities
  • History of Anthropology Thought by Gaya Pandey & Vijay S Upadhyay 

Anthropology Books for UPSC PDF

When it comes to building up a solid base on a particular subject, nothing can beat NCERT books. Before reading other anthropology books, you must cover some basic books to strengthen your foundation in the topics covered in the anthropology syllabus for UPSC. Few such books are Biology NCERT book For Class 12(Chapter 5, 6, 7), Biology NCERT Class 12, Indian Society – NCERT Class 12, etc. 

The list of the Anthropology Books for UPSC can be downloaded from the URL provided below. We've included a complete book list to assist aspirants in selecting the appropriate book for each topic.

☛ Download Anthropology UPSC Booklist PDF

How to Prepare with Anthropology Optional Books?

While preparing with anthropology optional books, you need to keep these points in mind.

  • If you are new to anthropology, you need to focus on building conceptual clarity and not aim to complete the syllabus quickly. 
  • There is no need to read the complete book, just keep a syllabus near you and complete the relevant topics only.
  • Ember and Ember is a great book to begin for absolute beginners. Try to make rich and comprehensive notes as they can come in handy during the revision period.

Best Anthropology Books for UPSC

Here we are going to discuss some anthropology books for UPSC that have been the best seller over the years, and we will also analyze the reason behind it. These books are also mentioned above, but here we are going to talk about them in a brief manner.

  • Anthropology Book-1 Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain: Without a doubt, it is one of the highly recommended anthropology books for UPSC. it was first published in 1996 and since it has been one of the best sellers. This book is mentioned above, and it covers both Paper 1 and Paper 2 in simple language.
  • Anthropology Book-2 Tribal Indian BY Nadeem Hasnain: This is another masterpiece by Nadeem Hassiin, and this is one of the few anthropology books for UPSC that mainly focuses on the involvement and origin of Tribal Communities in India. The simple narration of topics is the main attraction of this book. But candidates must remember that they need to study from other anthropology books for UPSC along with this book because this book only writes about tribes.
  • Anthropology Book 3- History of Anthropology Thought by Gaya Pandey & Vijay S Upadhyay: This book covers everything from cultural evolution to religious evolution. This is divided into short ad easy chapters and it builds an interrelation between topics. Here the elements of social schools are described beautifully.

How to Choose the Best Books for Anthropology Optional UPSC?

We have mentioned a wide variety of anthropology optional books above, but it is not possible to cover all of them in a limited period of time. That’s why you need to choose the anthropology books that would be best suited for you. If you are a beginner then choose NCERTs or some basic UPSC Books to start with, and then go for heavy books. Choose the books that you are comfortable with. If you have studied anthropology at your UG or PG level then you can easily cover the heavy materials.

Other Important UPSC Books
History Books for UPSCUPSC Electrical Engineering Books
Polity Books for UPSCMedical Science Book for UPSC
Ethics Books for UPSCAgriculture Books for UPSC
Economics Book for UPSCAnimal Husbandry Books for UPSC
Sociology Books for UPSCUPSC Law Optional Books
Psychology Books for UPSCZoology Optional Books for UPSC
Political Science Books for UPSCUPSC Assamese Literature Optional Books
Philosophy Books for UPSCUPSC Urdu Optional Books
International Relations Books for UPSCMaithili Books for UPSC
Maths Books for UPSCPunjabi Literature Books for UPSC
Public Administration Books for UPSCUPSC Sanskrit Optional Books
Hindi Literature Books for UPSCUPSC English Literature Optional Books
Botany Books for UPSCTelugu Literature Books for UPSC
Tamil Literature Books for UPSCUPSC Statistics Books
Kannada Literature Books for UPSCUPSC Geology Books
Gujarati Literature Books for UPSCUPSC Commerce And Accountancy Books
Chemistry Books for UPSCUPSC Physics Optional Books
Geography Books for UPSCUPSC Mechanical Engineering Books


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FAQ about UPSC Anthropology Books

  • As per the anthropology syllabus in the UPSC exam, the Best Anthropology Books are History of Anthropology, Thought by Gaya Pandey & Vijay S Upadhyay, Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain, Anthropology Simplified- Vivek Bhasme. Apart from these mentioned books, candidates can also follow other resources.

  • Paper 1 of the Anthroposophy Optional Syllabus for UPSC includes topics such as the development of anthropology, relationship with other disciplines, human evolution, etc. there are some anthropology optional books that cover these topics are

    • Braintree material
    • Anthropology – Ember and Ember
    • Physical Anthropology – P Nath
    • Indian Anthropology -Nadeem Hasnain
  • If you want to cover all the Anthropology Books in the best way possible then you need to follow a robust study plan. Go through the UPSC syllabus for Anthropology Optional, and come up with a strategy to cover the UPSC Books based on the syllabus. In addition, you need to manage your time distribution properly.

  • Akshat Jain, who had AIR2 in UPSC 2019 highly recommended reading the following anthropology books for UPSC, Socio-Cultural Anthropology by NK Vaid, Physical Anthropology by BM Das, Tribal India by Nadeem Husnain, and Sapiens by Yual Noah Harari among others.

  • Yes, there are a few Anthropology Optional Books that the candidates can count on for Paper 2 of the optional paper. These books include Indian Anthropology -Nadeem Hasnain, The Tribal Culture of India – LP Vidyarthi, Tribal India – Nadeem Hasnain, Anthropology Simplified- Vivek Bhasme. Covering these books helps the candidates to fetch good marks in Paper 2 of anthropology optional.

  • Apart from reading the Anthropology, Optional Books candidates should also gather knowledge from other resources such as Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. schemes and tribal related news reported in newspapers, Diagrams related to anthropology among others.

  • For Indian anthropology: Indian anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain is a highly recommended book. This UPSC Anthropology Book includes topics on Indian society and culture in a simple manner, which makes it an interesting read.

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