Indian History Books: Top 21 to Know the Hidden History

As soon as you google, you will find millions of books on Indian History Books. These are on the medieval history of India, the ancient history of India, and the modern history of India.

The history of India is ancient and a vast subject to study. The books on Indian History capture the vivid picture of historic and archaeological facts.

When someone researches Indian history, he/she would discover that the written documentation of Indian history begins with the Vedas.

Among so many written books, it becomes toilsome to find out the best books on Indian history.

There are many reasons to search for such a book. One can search for having an in-depth knowledge about history or competitive exams.

So, we have made the job easier for you. We have enlisted the Indian history books which are the most recommended and read for today’s young.

1. India’s Struggle for Independence: 1857-1947 by Bipan Chandra

India’s Struggle for Independence is the most prominent book written by Bipan Chandra. The book contains some of the significant battles fought for Indian Independence.

Indias struggle for Independence
India’s struggle for Independence

There are many Indian history books but this one stands out of the crowd. The book does not aim to provide the readers with the causes of British raj in India.

Rather it attempts to depict an account of the nation’s struggle for freedom from the colonizers. It also shows the ideologies attached to modern India.

The readers get to read about the religious, social and economic history of modern India.

 2. A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India by Upinder Singh

The book provides an overall account of the vast ancient Indian history. There is a detailed overview of the span of history from the Stone Age to the twelfth century.

A history of ancient and early medieval india
A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India

The text splits into broad chronological units for making it easier to understand. It depicts many geographical regions and provides evidence for archaeological facts.

There are four hundred photographs, maps, and figures. They enable the reader to understand the concept. Also about the archaeological testimonies of ancient and medieval India.

The book reflects an account of ancient India. The language used is simple which would also open the gates for discovering the past in an exciting way.

3. The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

The Argumentative Indian is a remarkable book that came out in 2005. The book is a Nobel Prize-winning book by the renowned economist Amartya Sen.

the Argumentative Indian
The Argumentative Indian

This is the collection of essays. It is one of the best books on Indian History that talks about the truth. Along with the debates focused on identity and intellectual pluralism.

The book splits into four sections. Each section deals with different aspects of Indian history. Sen debates about the democracy of India, the removal of inequalities, and subcontinental peace.

This text gives a close glimpse of orthodox Indian society. And provides the arguments associated with it. Thus, one must dig deeper into the book to have a great insight into the roots of India.

4. India’s Ancient Past by R.S. Sharma

Prof. Ram Sharan Sharma is a well-known historian. He has framed the book with much efforts.

India's ancient past
India’s Ancient Past

India’s Ancient Past is a book prescribed in the school syllabus. It is one of those Indian History Books that contains various topics that are prominent in context with ancient India.

The volume deals with the issues related to Aryan culture and historical construction.

Those who wish to have a detailed study on a subject can always pick this book. Moreover, this Indian History book has been written in a lucid manner which is quite comprehensive for the readers.

5. The Anarchy by William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple through his book ‘The Anarchy’ portrays the rise of East India Company from the surface of Asia.

The Anarchy
The Anarchy

It depicts how the initial trade between Asia and England turned out to be a game-changer. The British looted and cheated the colonies they ruled upon.

Furthermore, the readers acquaint themselves with the establishment of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. The central and significant part of the novel deals with the territorial conquests.

The writer has mentioned the battle of Plassey, conquests in Bengal, and the richest province of Mughal India. The book provides an overview of British rule.

6. Simla: The Summer Capital of British India by Raaja Bhasin

Shimla or Simla is a praise worthy and beautiful hill station. The greenery and beauty of the city is sooting to eyes.

Simla- the summer capital of British India
Simla- The Summer Capital of British India

Raaja Bhasin, in his book ‘Simla: the Summer Capital of British India’ gives the description of the vivacity and liveliness of the capital city.

The text describes an account of the rise and fall of Simla. It represents how the Simla wore the wrap of beautiful greenery. And soon it became the capital of Himachal Pradesh after the departure of the British Empire.

This is a wonderful Indian History book that shows the eccentricities of the Summer Capital of India. It also represents the partition and echoes the woes of ancient Indians.

7. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra

Satish Chandra is an eminent historian. ‘History of Medieval India’ is among the top history books on and in India.

History of Medieval India
History of Medieval India

It is one of the Indian History Indian books that spans the period of thousand years. The readers encounter a vivid picture of India in medieval times.

The writer talks about some interesting periods of Indian history. We learn things about the Cholas, Rajputs and the invading armies.

Hence, the book is an essential read for a great understanding of medieval history of India. The book design would interest both the students and scholars of history.

8. Pritviraj Chauhan and His Times by RV Somani

RV Somani has put a great effort to dig out some unknown facts about the Chauhans. ‘Prithviraj Chauhan and His Times’ is a book that studies the struggles of Prithviraj Chauhan against the Turks.

Prithviraj Chauhan and his times
Prithvi Raj Chauhan and His Times

It is one of the Indian History books that not only deals with Prithviraj Chauhan but other Rajputs also. It outshines the cultural activities of that period too.

The text consists of a detailed study of the early study of Chauhans. We learn about the architectural and administrative activities of that period.

There are inscriptions of some original manuscripts from the times of Chauhans. The reader befriends himself with other Rajput families who played a major role in Indian history.

9. An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor

Through An Era of Darkness, Shashi Tharoor presents an argument on the cruelty of British Rule in India. Dr. Shashi is well known for his straight forward nature. He crafted the text of the novel in a cunning way.

an era of Darkness
An Era of Darkness

The readers come face to face with the evils and misconceptions attached to history. We encounter how some myths imbibed in the minds.

It is an opportunity for the reader to walk through some dark roads of the past. Moreover, you will wonder on how the book gives you clarity about Indian History.

10. Tatya Tope’s Operation Red Lotus by Parag Tope

Parag Tope’s book ‘Tatya Tope’s Operation Red Lotus’ is an important book. It is significant for having an understanding of the history of the Anglo-Indian 1857 war.

Operation red lotus
Operation Red Lotus

The book summarizes the problems and the detailed planning of the war. It also portrays how by tackling the problems the troops got unified.

The book got published in 2010 and written by the contemporary members of the Tope family. This is the first publication that includes a detailed description of incidences from war planning to his demise.

11. The Great Partition by Yasmin Khan

The partition between India and Pakistan is frightening. It remains a fresh wound that has been hurting many minds and souls to date. The ruthless separation left the nations shattered and vulnerable.

The Great Partition
The Great Partition

Yasmin Khan’s ‘The Great Partition’ gives its readers a description of the partition of India. The author talks about the reasons and many causes that led to the partition.

The writer examines the consequences of the partition and its effect on the minds of people. It depicts how immediate and impulsive the decision was.

Khan tells the impression people hold in their minds about the partition. This Indian History book becomes a must-read for those who wish to study Indian freedom struggle.

12. The Ocean of Churn by Sanjeev Sanyal

Sanjeev Sanyal discusses in his book ‘The Ocean of Churn’ about the details of the Indian Ocean. He has talked about history. It stretches from East Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian sub-continent to South East Asia.

The Ocean of Churn
The Ocean of Churn

The writer digs out some unknown facts about Indian history. This is one of the Indian History Books that explores forgotten sites, oral histories, and old inscriptions in the book.

Some interesting and lesser known figures are also talked about in this book. The book is a superfluous adventure journey. It takes the reader through some long lost cities. Also, the last discovered genetics of human origins & many more.

13. The Ivory Throne by Manu S. Pillai

The Indian writer Manu S. Pillai has written a remarkable book. ‘The Ivory Throne’ signifies the anecdote of Kerala changed for over three centuries.

The Ivory Throne
The Ivory Throne

The book depicts the chronicles of history of Kerala. It also includes the episodes, anecdotes, social norms and some tempting facts of the time.

The text narrates the story of the matrilineal society. Raja Ravi Varma’s grand-daughter ‘Sethu Laxmi Bayi’, the senior Maharani and her cousin ‘Sethu Prathavi Bayi’ get the heart of the novel.

It provides a series of events that took place during the reign of Sethu Laxmi Bayi. This Indian History book is very interesting and holds a not so usual plot.

14. Prehistory and Protohistory of India by VK Jain

VK Jain in his book ‘Prehistory and Protohistory of India’ deals with peninsular India. Those who are the students of social studies could understand the term.

Prehistory and Protohistory of India
Prehistory and Protohistory of India

The book includes many wide ranging topics. For example technologies, tools, settlements, ecological background and existing patterns.

The text holds line-drawings, maps and descriptive notes for particular sites. The writer talks about the Stone Age and The Catholic Cultures outside the Harappan Zone.

The megalithic cultures of peninsular India are also discussed in the details. This book provides with deep insights about the Deccan as well.

15. Ancient India by RC Majumdar

Dr. Majumdar was the historian and former sheriff of Kolkata. He worked as a lecturer in the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture.

Ancient India
Ancient India

‘The Ancient India’ by RC Majumdar is a significant book. It portrays historical events in India. The book is easy to understand, intellectual. It holds the depiction of ancient Indian history.

The text of the book divides into three main parts. From pre-historic age to 600 B.C.; 600 B.C. to 300 A.D. and 300 A.D. to 1200 A.D.

The works reflect the economic and cultural conditions of the times back then. The book is also important for the students preparing for competitive exams to know more about Indian history.

16.History of Medieval India by RS Chaurasia

The Medieval Indian period is the dark period as regarded by most of the historians. They believe that the ancient period was the golden period.

History of Medieval India by Rs Chaurasia
History of Medieval India by Rs Chaurasia

The History of Medieval India by RS Chaurasia is an account of medieval history of India. It provides the readers with profound knowledge and information about that period.

The book is divides into three parts. The first part covers the saltanat period from 1206 to 1526. The second part deals with the Mughal Period from 1526 to 1760 A.D.

The third part includes the period upto 1857. It also covers some important movements. The economic aspects are also discussed.

17. From Plassey to Partition by Sekhar Bandopadhyay

Sekhar Bandopadhyay is a New Zealand based Indian author. His book ‘From Plassey to Partition’ plays a significant role in historical books. The book talks of incidents that took place between the battle of Plassey to Partition.

From plassey to partition and after
From Plassey to Partition and After

The text of the book begins with the decline of Mughal Empire and the rise of British Raj in India. It depicts the obstacles and problems India faced under the British rule.

The cultural and social changes that occur are also mentioned. It is one of the best Indian history books as it gives an account of the Indian freedom struggle, and about partition of India.

18. India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha

Mahatama Gandhi was the most prominent nationalist. His contribution in the Indian freedom Struggle is immense. He has led some important movements which set India off the clutches of Britishers.

India after Gandhi
India after Gandhi

This book is a post Independence text that shows life after we got Independence. The text provides a detailed overview of Independent India.

The writer talks about important prime ministers of India and particularly Jawaharlal Nehru. He has also discussed the lives and relations of Gandhi’s and Nehru’s.

On the whole, the text deals with the important Indians. Those who hold authoritative position in the political history of India.

19.The Wonder that was India by A.L. Basham

‘The Wonder that was India’ is the book that portrays the beauty and cultural heritage of India. A.L. Basham has given the words to the beauty that many of us have never seen.

wonder that was india
Wonder that was India

The readers acquaint themselves with the times of Indus valley civilization. The book is comprehensive and written in an easy to understand language.

It keeps the reader engrossed throughout for it is an intriguing text. The book also reflects the origin of the Hindu religion that is here since the Harappan times.

So, the book holds some interesting facts. It will fill the reader’s mind with exciting information about the ancient history of India.

20.The Age of Wrath by Abraham Eraly

Abraham Eraly in his book ‘The Age of Wrath’ gives a detailed description of the Delhi sultanate. The period ranging from 1206-1526.

The age of wrath
The Age of Wrath

The age was a period of violence and threat. This work talks about the rise and downfall of various kings who ruled the throne of Delhi.

He describes how this age has encountered aggressive religious impositions. There were also shrewd kings and fierce dynasties. Through this book, the reader relive this outrageous period.

This Indian History book has a notable work that also talks about social, political, and economic changes in India. Further, this book tells about the cultural transformation of India.

21.The History of Sikhs by Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh is a prolific writer. His writings not only touch the heart of the reader but also it shrivels the soul.

A history of the sikhs
A History of the Sikhs

Most of us must be aware of the frightening history of merciless behavior with the Sikhs. But those who are unaware of this book are for them to read and understand the plight of the Sikhs.

This Indian History book is for all the readers in general and for non- academic readers. It involves the fifteenth century religious, social, and political change. Those changes led to the transformation of Sikh faith.

The book describes the relationship of Sikhs with Mughals and Afghans. It also covers the descriptive narration of Raja Ranjit Singh.

Khuswant Singh also penned the popular book – Train to Pakistan. You can read it too.

So, clear your thoughts and select a book that you want to read.

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