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. For much of his 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 journals and other possessions in the 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.
Ronald E. Yates is a former award-winning foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Dean Emeritus of the College of Media at the University of Illinois where he was also a Professor of Journalism.
He is the author of Finding Billy Battles, the first in a trilogy of novels published Nov. 2013 and The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. His books also include Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent's Journey Through Japan, a collection of columns translated into Japanese, as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist's Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a Global Economy.
Yates lived and worked as a foreign correspondent in Japan, Southeast Asia and Latin America where he covered several major stories including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia in 1975, the 1989 Tiananmen Square tragedy in Beijing, and revolutions in Nicaragua, El Salvador an Guatemala. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas.
Book Review :
By Sara (Indiana, USA) - (Kindle Edition) 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 liked the concept that the book itself opens with Billy Battle's great-grandson actually meeting him, and then later on receiving the journals that Billy had written. For me, what really brought the story alive was the use of the vernacular at the time, and I loved the turns of phrases they used in the past. It added another layer of authenticity to the story.
Billy Battles wasn't the only character I liked. As mentioned, I loved how the author utilized historical figures to flesh out the narrative â€“ Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson to name a few. As I read this book, I found myself looking up the places mentioned, as it ranged from Dodge City, Kansas to Tombstone, Arizona. As far as other characters, one of my favorites was Signore DiFranco. He was in exile from his home country, but I found him to be as fascinating a character as Billy.
This particular book â€“ Finding Billy Battles- is just part one, and I really want to read the next book to find out how this story continues. A highly recommended rating of 5/5 stars for those who love historical fiction, and the Old West in particular.