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Finding Billy Battles

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A link to the past no one could ever imagine.

When a great-grandson inherits two aging trunks and a stack of meticulously detailed journals penned by his great-grandfather, he sets out to fulfill his great-grandfather's last request: to tell the story of an incredible life replete with adventure, violence, and tragedy. The great-grandfather's name is Billy Battles--a man o
Kindle Edition, 361 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Xlibris
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Average rating 4.48  · 
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Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
C.P. Lesley
Mar 29, 2017 added it
Shelves: nbhf
Journalism, history, biography, memoirs, and historical fiction overlap to some degree. The first two focus on provable facts, but the facts must be arranged to form a coherent story, and that requires an element of interpretation, especially in history. Biography and memoirs demand even more of a story arc, although still devoted to a specific person who once lived or still lives. And historical fiction, although it departs from that fundamental reliance on what can be documented or evidenced b ...more
Martin Eidhammer
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author, free of charge, with no expectation of a positive review.
The author calls this a work of “faction” That is, the story it tells is based partly on fact, but it has
been augmented with narrative fiction. Many of the characters are historical persons.
The author claims that he has mined his family’s history as well as stories he has heard family members tell while he was growing up in Kansas. After having read about the many trials and tribulations of Billy Batt
Karen Ingalls
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a factual-fiction story about Billy Battles, portrayed as the author's great-grandfather. It takes place in the 1800s and is the first book of a trilogy. I love historical novels and enjoyed reading about Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Doc. Holliday. My great-grandfather visited the same places as Billy when he was out west which brought added interest. The well-described places and events made me feel as if I were there.
I gave it 4 stars because too often more than one character was spe
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finding Billy Battles: Book 1 of a trilogy by Ronald E. Yates
I wrote this review based on a copy that the author sent me.

This is a story of faction Kansas with a rich Native American and immigrant history set in late nineteenth century. It begins with an introduction written by Ted Sayles describing William Fitzroy Raglan Battles also known as Captain Battles , veteran of the Spanish-American War. This introduction leads us into the story, his first meeting with his great-grandfather, Billy, at
I received a copy of this ebook, in exchange for an honest review.

A very well written western (even though the start of the book is set in the mid 20th century), referred to the author as 'faction', which is a mix of a story based on fact, but has fiction thrown in.

The story begins with a boy named Ted Sayles who travels meets his great-grandfather for the first time, but isn't particularly interested in the prospect. He visits him a few times until the great-grandfather passes away and left hi
Aubrey Jones
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Young Billy Battle grew up on a hardscrabble farm near Dodge City Kansas at the peak of its cattle-drive squalor. Along the way, Billy Battle meets every lawman and a bunch of desperadoes in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas and includes a visit to Lawrence Kansas (Quantrill’s Raid fame). A family acquaintance in Lawrence knows Billy wants to cut his Momma's apron strings and suggests he work for a local newspaper that wants to open a newspaper in Dodge city. Billy’s early training in shoot ...more
Leah M
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Booktasters in exchange for my honest review.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVED this book. I wasn't sure at first that I would, but by the first page of the memoir, I was hooked. The story is full of action, with gunfights and outlaws, adventures, emotions, and sarcastic wit that I wasn't really expecting to see.

The story is set in 1800s Kansas, along with other parts of the Western frontier, and there are often colloquialisms used. While my Kindl
Robert Enzenauer
Well I found out about this excellent trilogy after reading the author’s blog. Ronald Yates has created an incredible historical fiction that follows Billy Battles from his humble farm near Dodge City through the famous towns of the old west, in Colorado, New Mexico, California and Texas as he works as a for a newspaper opening in Dodge City Kansas. Billy Battles makes it to Chicago for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Yates’ story takes Billy from a shootout Kansas, to a new life in exile with a ...more
Debbie Viscosi
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Was there more to the "Wild West" that gunfights and saloons? In the novel "Finding Billy Battles" Ron Yates gives a remarkable insight into the lives of those persons living at that time. He adeptly weaves fact and fiction into a compelling and entertaining story. We meet Bat Masterson, the Earp brothers and many more people known to have lived in the Wild West. It was a dangerous time with gunfighters, Indians and lawless people moving from place to place.

A young man is born on the plains of
M.E. Hembroff
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ted Sayles meets his great Grandfather, Billy Battles, for the first time when he was a young lad. He goes to visit him with his grandmother and up to that moment he had never heard of him. The first visit was with his grandmother, but future visits would be by himself. His grandmother drops him off for a few hours and then pick him up at the end of each visit. When his great grandfather passes away a few years later he leaves Ted all his journals and trunks. He had told Ted previously that he w ...more
Karen Tannenbaum
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For Booktasters, this is my first review. And to begin, it is one of the best books in the historical fiction genres I have read. I fully savored every page. This story is of a great great grandfather who had quite a journalistic life. He bequeaths his journals (which are golden) to his great grandson and the story takes off like an Indiana Jones screenplay. Only better. Because this history is real. And one will learn all about the wilds of Kansas and you will find Asia and South America in the ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Faction - mix of a story based on fact but has fiction thrown in, is what the author presents the books as.

We are first introduced to a boy named Ted Sayles. The beginning is more like a set up to slowly slide you into the story. It really starts only after the boy finds the journals written by his great grandfather - Billy Battles. The boy then decides to re narrate his experiences and write a novel about him.
Thus we are then pulled into the late 19th century post Civil War era.

We begin at Bill
Sheri Prielipp-Falzone
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I usually do not invest the time into trilogies, however, the Prologue: Ted Sayles in the first installment, Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates hooked me. As a prolific journal writer, I was intrigued with the inheritance of a treasure trove of journals written by Billy Battles. The Preface of the book states it is a work of “faction. That is, the story it tells based partly on fact, but has been augmented with narrative fiction.” It further goes on to qualify that many of the protagonists ...more
Jacques Carrié
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Kim M
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Our storyteller, Ted, tells us an interesting saga about the life and times of William Fitzroy Raglan Battles, his great-grandfather, based on journals he inherited when his great-grandfather died. Although, initially, Ted was too young to truly appreciate the immense wealth of knowledge and life experiences his great-grandfather had recorded in several volumes of journals, he kept the journals and later told the tale.
I was unsure about reading 'Finding Billy Battles' as it isn't my usual genre
Linda Guest
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was hooked from the first paragraph! Billy Battles has a great story to tell and the modern-day lead into the main part of the book was believable and intriguing. The fictional autobiography of Billy starts in America in the mid-1800s. Now I wouldn’t normally read a ‘cowboy’ story, but this is so much more. Billy takes the reader through the turbulent and wild West in a writing style that really brings the era to life. I was particularly intrigued by the wonderful array of 19th century words a ...more
Jan Sikes
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
What I liked most about this book was the way the author blended true factual happenings and events with a fictional tale. For example, the infamous characters, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday make several appearances throughout this book. I also thought the author did a great job depicting the language of the era as well as a true look at the simple basic living conditions of the time. The history of the railroad was shared in a way that I found interesting and truth be told, I lear ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book! It's completely engaging and carries you along on its rollercoaster ride with absolutely no effort required by you. It's #1 of a 3-book trilogy.

I actually read book #3 in this series before reading this one, so I sort of knew a few things that were going to happen, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment (or the suspense, really either!) at all.
It's basically historical fiction, following William Battles, a young man from the midwest US in the latter part of the 19th centu
Ruth Turner
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and found myself rushing through real life in order to snatch some reading time. This is a piece of really clever writing that transports you to another time and place with ease...and I found that I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't the long lost memoir of a family really draws you in and makes you feel like this could be your great's written in such a personal way. It feels like you are sitting reminiscing with a loved one and hearing thei ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story begins quite interesting. I like how the author's grandfather asked him to write the books about him and I think altogether he managed quite well to achieve a quite exciting story. After a few chapters I was kind of disappointed by the writing style, as there seemed a lot of repeated paragraphs – it was actually 3-4 consecutive chapters that repeat the exact same text over and over again.
But this seems to be the only issue with the book and I was really happy to have read it. I wonder
D.L. Finn
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Finding Billy Battles” is a historical fiction that takes us back to the days of the wild west. It is told through journals left to a great-grandson who reads them years after William Battles dies. Billy Battles was raised by a single mother. He takes a break from college to leave his home town and go work for a newspaper in Dodge City. He meets people we’re familiar with including: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson--that are seamlessly weaved into the story. I have always loved to rea ...more
Lisa Post
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am not a fan of the western genre, but this book is an exception. At first, I was going to pass it by, but now I'm so glad I didn't!

Ron Yates is a very talented writer who brings history to life. I felt like I was in the posse with Billy Battles. I got to meet people like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Besides interesting historical facts and storytelling, Yates utilizes vernacular that had me smiling. Phrases from the time and place which are unfamiliar to me, yet made perfect sense in context,
Randall Krzak
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We're taken on a historic journey as Billy's grandson inherits his grandfather's journals. The story takes us back to Billy's time as a young man caught between his mother's wishes for him to attend university and his desire to strike out on his own. Offered an opportunity to work on a newspaper opening in Dodge City, Billy jumps at the chance.

Ronald's characters are well-defined and larger-than-life. With a super plot and great attention to detail, readers are treated to Billy's connections of
Yvette Calleiro
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am not into history. I've had an aversion to it since my high school days. Lol! That being said, I really enjoyed this book. The author does an incredible job blending his great-grandfather's journals into a captivating story. The main character's voice is so humble and honest. The attention to details from that era bring even more authenticity to the story. It's no wonder why this book has won awards!

When I think of the life journal of Billy Battles, I'm exhausted. Lol! I know the next books
Bette Stevens
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Author Ronald Yates brings the old West to life with outstanding images and dialogue from a bygone era in this rip-roaring tale. Protagonist Billy Battles has a penchant for great storytelling in this journey of outlaws, immigrants and western justice as he teams up with greats like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and other legendary figures from history. I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to reading the next book in the series. ~Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning picture book AMAZIN ...more
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Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and award-winning Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans the world over who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism a

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