Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates

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 inconceivable life replete with adventure, violence and tragedy. The great-grandfather's name? Billy Battles—a man often trapped and overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control.

For much of his 100-year-long life Billy is a man missing and largely unknown to his descendants. His great-grandson is about to change that. As he works his way through the aging journals and the other possessions he finds in the battered trunks, he uncovers the truth about his mysterious great-grandfather--a man whose deeds and misdeeds propelled him on an extraordinary and perilous journey from the untamed American West to the inscrutable Far East, Latin America and Europe. 

As he flips through the pages of the handwritten journals, he learns of Billy's surprising connections to the Spanish-American War, French Indochina, and revolutions in Mexico and other Latin American countries. But most of all, he learns that in finding Billy Battles he has also found a long lost and astonishing link to his past.


Author Ronald Yates inherited an old trunk and a bunch of handwritten journals from his great-grandfather, Billy Battles, and unravelled an astonishing personal history! Within its pages were recounting of personal encounters with Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and Bat Masterson, close acquaintances of Billy Battles. The journals were so compelling, so extraordinary, so clearly written that Yates decided to compile it all in this work of “faction”.

Billy Battles was a man driven by external circumstances that always had reacting to one thing or another. From shoot-outs to confrontations with notorious outlaws and the sometimes “iffy” sheriffs who were obliged to enforce the law with sometimes colorful or controversial methods, this book was completely engrossing. I was fascinated with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday because they were described just as Billy experienced them, more authentically than any previous movie or novel.

I loved the simple, in-your-face, vernacular style of the writing that truly showed me what Billy Battles was like, and the exciting wild world he lived in. This books lends great credence to the wild west lifestyle that existed. The book ends with Billy starting the next phase of his life, which definitely leaves the reader eager to read on, setting the state for the second book in the Billy Battles trilogy.

For a first hand look at the wild west as it truly was experienced by the people who lived it, then this is the book for you. It truly is a wonderful masterpiece of American history! Highly recommended.

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