Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Finding Billy Battles” as Want to Read:
Finding Billy Battles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Finding Billy Battles

(Billy Battles #1)

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  67 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Finding Billy Battles, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Finding Billy Battles

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  67 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Finding Billy Battles
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
Toni Kief
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You will be excited you found Billy Battles. Wonderful, intriguing and left me begging for more of Billy's life. The language used takes you right into the times and the color of the 1880s and on. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Bat Masterson of course Billy would know them. This is an exciting, suspenseful, and surprising book. All about how what appears to be a simple task becomes a journey of horses, guns, and love.
Caleb Pirtle III
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had known William Fitzroy Raglan Battles. Was he real? I don’t know. Was his life based on the exploits of someone else? Maybe. But the deft handling of his life and times, as written by Ronald Yates, has tantalized me with the possibility that there just might be more to William Fitzroy Raglan Battles than meets the eye.

Yates himself calls the novel faction – facts intermingled with narrative fiction. But all I know is that Finding Billy Battles reads like the memoir of one of the most
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
CW Hawes
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finding Billy Battles is a blend of fact and fiction (“faction”) set in the post-1865 world of the US West. It is a fictional autobiography, if you will, of a young man entering adulthood.

Structurally, I found the book a blend of the plotless and picaresque novel formats.

There’s not a lot of movement in the book. We simply follow Billy as he tells his story. While not quite presented as separate vignettes, there are definite episodes of Billy’s life that he tells us about.

The novel is not what I
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
Robert Enzenauer
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love good historical fiction, and this first book of a trilogy reminds me of my prior favorite “history” book of another centenarian, LITTLE BIG MAN. The narrator writes a compelling story, reportedly organizing diaries, letters, and other mementos passed down to him by his great grandfather, Billy Battles. Battles starts his life raised by a single mother and Civil War widow on a poor dirt farm in Kansas where, as a very young man, survives a “shoot-out” with a criminal gang, but must skedadd ...more
Rox Burkey
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Author Ronald Yates creates a gripping historical fiction using Billy's journals that tracked his life, people he met, and events he witnessed from the mid-1800s. Tracing the history and fact-checking started with Billy's introduction in 1958 to his great-grandson, Theodore Remington Sayles. Billy was in a veteran's home and ninety-eight years old. Old but not senile.

Ted, as he preferred being called, was a Kansas lad who became an investigative newspaperman. He received the twelve journals his
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
Kelly Marshall
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Finding Billy Battles

I read the book first and then read the author's notes on Ronald E Yates. I’m impressed. A former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Dean Emeritus of the College of Media at the University of Illinois. He’s been a college professor as well. Trust me, the book is well-written and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ll bet you will too.
Billy Battles grew up the son of a widow a small farm on the plains of Kansas. After a couple of years of college, with t
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
C.J. Peterson
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Take a trip back to the old west.
Young William Battles was just starting off in life in the late 1800’s. Choosing to be a journalist sounded like a safe profession. Being sent down to an old property of his mother’s to sell seemed like an innocent request. However, this journey to Dodge City turned out to be anything but innocent or safe. As a matter of fact, this one event sent Billy down a trail that would shape his next several years.
Looking over his shoulder, struggling to move on, courting
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Finding Billy Battles 1 5 Jan 09, 2014 01:00AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • To Right A Wrong: A Justinia Wright Private Investigator Mystery (Justinia Wright Private Investigator Mysteries Book 8)
  • A Plot for Murder, A Father Frank Mystery
  • Zipacna's Legacy
  • Cut Back to Life
  • The Enigma Threat (The Enigma Series Book 12)
  • Unraveled (Carson Chance, PI #2)
  • Search for Power
  • The Nine Deadly Dolls: A Justinia Wright Private Investigator Mystery
  • In the Shadow of the Mountains of Madness: A Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigation (Pierce Mostyn Paranormal Investigations Book 8)
  • Strength From Within
  • Never Afraid, Never A Doubt: The Legacy of Hershel Kimbrell, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach
  • Escape From Wheel (Conquest Of The Veil Book 2)
  • Back to Center
  • Out of Poland
  • Scrabbled Secrets (The Games We Play Book 4)
  • Bless Me Father For I Have Sinned (Winston and Strom series Book 4)
  • Love's Enigma
  • A Witch's Brew: Conquest of the Veil Book III
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Billy Battles (3 books)
  • The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles #2)
  • The Lost Years of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles Trilogy #3)

News & Interviews

For the reader who enjoys a spot of amateur sleuthing, historical whodunits offer the particular pleasure of combining suspense with the...
33 likes · 2 comments
“Reading a book is like life: you live it one page at a time.” 0 likes
More quotes…