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Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Western Kansas 1860. Billy Battles is born on a remote homestead just off the storied Santa Fe Trail. More than one hundred years later a great-grandson inherits two trunks filled with Billy's personal effects. Also in those trunks are several startling journals that chronicle an astonishing life that until now was obscured by the murky haze of time and Billy's deep-rooted ...more
Kindle Edition, 361 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Xlibris
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The author describes this saga of one man’s extraordinary life a work of “faction”. The story is based on fact, with some real life characters and incidents, but he has added some purely fictional elements. The result is a compelling tale of the old West, with gunfights and outlaws galore, and a strong central protagonist to carry the narrative along.
It all begins when Billy Battle bequeaths to his great grandson a trunk containing the journals in which he has documented his life. At his reques
This book captures the unique personality, flavor, and wildness of the old American West as we follow the life and adventures of a young man through a period of about 30 years. The prologue gives the backstory and generally held my interest, but once I began reading the first chapter I was smitten. The tale just seemed to flow from the page on my kindle into my thoughts and mind. I love books which allow me to become so immersed into the story that I lose track of time and forget my sense of sel ...more
Joan Adamak
An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption
Book 1 of a Trilogy

A little of Louis L’amore and Zane Grey with the faster pace of modern westerns.

This is an interesting tale of settling the mid-west commencing with Billy Battles, then ninety-eight years old, being visited by his daughter and her son, twelve-year old Ted Sayles, in a veterans home, where Billy is known as the oldest Spanish American war veterans there. Billy hadn’t seen his daughter in thirty years and this
From the moment I started reading Finding Billy Battles, I was drawn into the story. It was well written, and held my attention through the entire book. The author, Ronald Yates, created an amazing blend of historical fiction and historical fact while using famous historical figures of the American West.

The main character, Billy Battles was well-developed, and since it was written from his perspective, we got insight into his thought patterns and his motivations through the whole story. I also l
Alys Marchand
In many ways, this book is like Little House on the Prairie written for adults. The author blended factual events with fiction to give a better feel and understanding of the era (did you know Nellie Oleson is a mash-up of three different people?). Most books that aren't written as a study of a person's life, whether by the person or another, have elements of this.

I can also see some people having a problem with the language. Well, that's life in the 1860's, and making the language to today's sta
Veritas Vincit
Don't let the cover of this book fool you; it's one of the most entertaining and adventurous reads I've gotten my hands on in a long time. When I read the premise, I wasn't sure that I wanted to get involved in reading a few hundred pages of journal entries and reminiscences, but I thought I would give it a try. I found myself transported completely, in a way that so few authors can genuinely do. The environment, the characters, the vernacular and the overall tone of the book never faltered, and ...more
Uncovering your family history is something that everyone thinks about doing, but in some situations, it is harder than most. I loved the initial premise of this novel, which is what initially drew me to read it. The idea of following the course of a 100-year life, seeing things through their eyes, and watching as they traversed the world was an intriguing proposition. This first installment of the trilogy focused mainly on the early part of Billy Battles' life in the American west, but this can ...more
Ian Miller
First, a grizzle that may apply only to the Kindle, which opens art the start of the story, where it says this is a book of "faction", i.e. it is based on fact but dramatized, and is supposedly based on the journals of Ted Sayles great grandfather, William Battles. This is misleading. The book is simply fiction, and is the first of a historical trilogy. The reason for the grizzle is this: because of the historical setting, if the reader has not noticed the first statement prior to where the Kind ...more
Bronsen Hawkins
I went into this novel thinking it was a straight historical fiction about a guy I wasn’t going to care about doing something that was not going to matter to me. I could not be happier to say that I have never been more wrong in my life. For starters Ronald E. Yates, the author of this fine story, describes his novel as a work of “faction”. Which at its essence is a creative blend of factual events with fictional ones in order to progress the story or add more tension. From a readers stand point ...more
This is an interesting read. It is described by the author as a “faction” novel: partly based on fact, but with fiction thrown in. It follows the tales passed onto the author by his great grandfather, Billy Battles, through journals, letters, and personal accounts. It tells of his life in the “Wild West”, meeting with larger than life actual people such as Oscar Wilde and Wyatt Earp. But it’s not all fun and games: there are dark things in Billy’s past that come to light, and it takes us through ...more
Ted Sayles is 12 when he meets his 98 year old great grandfather Billy Battles for the first time. At the time as teenagers are prone to do he discards the importance of the man and his history. Billy leaves him his journals and belongings and ask him to write the truth. It is then that Ted begins to uncover what a fascinating man his grandfather actually was.

This was a very engaging story. It reminded me of “Forrest Gump meets the Wild West”. Billy Battles starts out as a timid young man. As a
Finding Billy Battles is a captivating novel about the fascinating life and trials of William Battles. Readers will become immersed in the exciting and intense adventures that seem to lie in wait for Billy to uncover.

A great grandfather's desire to share his remarkable life, through his personal journals, with his grandson leads to this incredible journey through US history. As William Battles's life comes to an end, his great grandson Ted's life is just beginning. Taking a liking to Ted, the on
Before I begin this review, I feel that I first must mention that I had never been a fan of any kind of books with any western setting or influence whatsoever. It never appealed to me and I suppose I unfairly never gave it a chance. With that being said, having finished this book has not only given me immense respect for the author, Ronald E. Yates and his pure talented writing ability, but also the western genre.

I originally only gave this a chance because a close friend of mine kept ranting on
A story that starts in 1860 in the remote area of Kansas, and continues on through several states and decades until we take our leave of our hero, Billy Battles, in his thirties as he is about to embark for the Orient.

Billy was first and foremost a newspaperman, a journalist, a 'scribbler', as he calls himself, and we learn of his adventures from a biography of sorts, which he writes in his elderly years by referring to his private journals which he kept all his life. He leaves all his papers to
Jacques Carrié
Accepted by Columbia University in the fall of 1959 after ten years in France (my native country) and ten in Venezuela (my next in line, barely emerging from a cruel dictatorship), I forced myself to read “The Virginian” (a Western classic) by Owen Wister, a Spanish-English pocket dictionary in one hand, having never read an American novel before, as a way of improving my English language (the third for me, the one I hated the most for being so different than Spanish, my previous nightmare). I d ...more
Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption

This is easily the best work of fiction I've read in some time. I don't usually give books a 5-star review but this one is definitely worth it. The story is a work of fiction that is set accurately and comfortably amidst the historical events of the frontier west in the mid to late 1800s. This is the first book of a trilogy and it follows William (Billy) Battles from his youth through his 30’s living in Kansas and Colorado.
The narrator meets his however-many-greats grandfather Billy Battles as a young man. He receives Billy’s journals and memorabilia on Billy’s death, sticks it all in the attic and forgets about it for a while. In middle-age between jobs, he finds the journals and puts together this story using Billy’s writings, beginning in the 1880s. Billy ends up next to a number of old west legends, Bat Masterson and the Earp brothers for example, while having lots of adventures. This is the first of a planned ...more
Michael M
This book is about an original journal put together into a triology. (western genre).
Ronald Yates in Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril wrote about Billy Battles old wild wild west adventures and captures the era in such a fascinating way. This book contains original and true life information. Billy's grandson put these stories together and it is very interesting to read and very relevant today even though it was dated back in time. You will not want to put this book down as the story ta
Ann Smith
I am so glad I found this book. How lucky we are that Billy kept those journals and that his great grandson had the skill to put them into a trilogy.

The wild west was such an interesting time, and this book captures the era in a way only someone who lived through it could. From the complex and interesting characters Billy meets along the way, to the lingo you never knew existed (but somehow makes perfect sense!).
There is something about the way it is written that transports you back in time. Y
Finding Billy Battles is a story about Billy's 'old west' days...taken from his journals that were willed to his great-grandson. I was a fun read, which I really enjoyed from beginning to end and can't wait for the next installment. *NOTE: I found this unedited copy on NetGalley - and I am not sure if this has been fixed or not...but I did tire of hearing the same recollection of the 'Gunfight at the O.K. Corral' - it was explained no less than 3 different time in this book.
Brian Winningham
This book is one hell of a read! The prose and story takes me back to the stories I loved when I was young. This is an adventure story to rank alongside books like The Virginian and Around the World in 80 Days. I can't wait for the second and third books to come out.
The wild west was such an interesting time, and this book captures the era in a way only someone who lived through it could.

It was well written, and held my attention through the entire book.

The author, Ronald Yates, created an amazing blend of historical fiction and historical fact while using famous historical figures of the American West.

I really want to read the next book to find out how this story continues.
Suanne Laqueur
A rollicking, fast-paced read about the Wild West (and beyond) with historical detail only possible by one who was there. More light-hearted and fun than "Lonesome Dove" but no less authentic in its narrative. One of the greatest compliments I can pay a book is to say it made go look up people, places and events mentioned within its pages.
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Finding Billy Battles 1 5 Jan 09, 2014 01:00AM  
Ronald E. Yates is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Professor Emeritus, and former Dean of the College of Media at the University of Illinois.

Journalism Career

While at the Chicago Tribune, Yates accumulated extensive international experience. He lived and worked 18 years as a foreign correspondent in Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America where he covered sev
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