The Hero of Herat: A Frontier Romance


The Hero of Herat: A Frontier Romance is a popular biography of Eldred Pottinger (1811–43) by Maud Diver (1867–1945), a British Indian author who was a friend and contemporary of Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) and who, like Kipling, primarily wrote about Englishmen in India and their encounters with the people and cultures of the East. Pottinger was an army officer in the East India Company and the nephew of Henry Pottinger, also in the service of the company. In 1837 Eldred Pottinger traveled from Peshawar to Kabul and Herat, disguised as a horse dealer. Soon after his arrival in Herat, the city was besieged by the Persian army with the assistance of Russian officers. Pottinger identified himself to and offered his services in the defense of the city to Yar Mohammad Khan, the wazir and commander of the forces under Shah Kamran, ruler of Herat. His services were accepted and the defense was successful, as the Persians ended their siege and withdrew in September 1838. Pottinger left Herat in 1839 but returned to Afghanistan in 1841 as the British political agent in Kohistan. He was heavily involved in the fighting and diplomacy of the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–42). The Hero of Herat covers Pottinger’s activities up to his departure from Afghanistan in 1839. A later volume by the same author covers his involvement in the events of the First Anglo-Afghan War. The book opens with a portrait of Pottinger in Afghan dress and concludes with a fold-out map that illustrates the route of his journey to Afghanistan in 1837‒38.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York


Title in Original Language

The hero of Herat; a frontier romance

Type of Item

Physical Description

441 pages : illustrations, maps ; 19 centimeters


  1. William Broadfoot, revised by James Lunt, “Pottinger, Eldred (1811‒1843),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: August 26, 2016