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Finding Billy Battles

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  40 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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4.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  49 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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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
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
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
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
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 K
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
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
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
Mark Bierman
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished reading, 'Finding Billy Battles' the first book of the Billy Battles trilogy and just one word comes to mind . . . more! Even without the parade of famous characters that included Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Bat Masterson, this novel would have still been the cause of my sleep deprivation, simply because I was unable put it down!

History fascinates me and Mr. Yates does an excellent job of transforming the "Old West" from words to three-dimensional reality. Job well done, M
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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Though I admit it took me a little time to get into this book, I finally came to enjoy the story and the constant pull it contains. William "Billy" Battles is definitely someone that you'd define as a character. After being properly raised by his mother and family friend, Luther, his sense of adventure and longing for independence take him down an unforgettable, sometimes fortuitous-sometimes perilous path. This combination makes for an intriguing, educational, and downright fun read. The only c ...more
Heidi Mastrogiovanni
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here's a good indication of how much I enjoyed this book: I immediately started reading the sequel! This book is involving and very well written, with a tremendously compelling title character and equally fascinating characters surrounding him. It's a page-turner of a story. I highly recommend this book.
Dave Richards
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Captivating plot about the old west. Loved this great historical fiction. Enjoyed the action very much. Would highly recommend.

Ian Miller
May 14, 2014 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
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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 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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