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Finding Billy Battles

4.5  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  29 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 29, 2014 Mandy 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 C.P. Lesley 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
Joan Adamak
Feb 08, 2014 Joan Adamak 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 Alys Marchand 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
Karen Tannenbaum
Jun 21, 2017 Karen Tannenbaum 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
Sheri Prielipp-Falzone
May 14, 2017 Sheri Prielipp-Falzone 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 Jacques Carrié 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
Ian Miller
May 14, 2014 Ian Miller rated it it was amazing
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
* Maru * (FellInLoveWithABook)
Sep 18, 2016 * Maru * (FellInLoveWithABook) rated it really liked it
In the first book of this trilogy we follow the life of William Battles throughout 34 years. William, a young man living in the XIX century western North America, finds himself facing a life-changing event early in his life. This seems to define who he becomes as he grows up and we accompany him along this journey.

The genre of this story is difficult to describe. I would dare to say it is a novel, yet shaped as an autobiography, with a full-on western vibe going on. The beginning has a whole di
Jul 19, 2014 John rated it really liked it
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
Rick Laliberte
Mar 17, 2014 Rick Laliberte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.
Veritas Vincit
Jul 22, 2014 Veritas Vincit rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 03, 2014 Tammy-&-Michelle rated it really liked it
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
May 07, 2014 Joawmeens rated it really liked it
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
Mar 05, 2014 Marti rated it it was amazing
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
Bronsen Hawkins
May 11, 2014 Bronsen Hawkins rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 12, 2014 Lcdk rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 30, 2014 Stacie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
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
Mar 31, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
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
Ann Smith
Feb 28, 2014 Ann Smith rated it it was amazing
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
Michael M
May 14, 2014 Michael M rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 18, 2014 Sherri rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 11, 2014 Mirlou rated it really liked it
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
Mar 02, 2015 Suanne Laqueur rated it liked it
Shelves: rrbc
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.
Brian Winningham
May 11, 2014 Brian Winningham rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 25, 2016 Jalynnly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It's based on Kansas history - cowboys, mining, Wyatt Earp and cattle.
Heide rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2014
Steve rated it it was ok
May 27, 2014
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Finding Billy Battles 1 5 Jan 09, 2014 01:00AM  

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans from around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at th
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