Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates.
Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 1.
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 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 the past.
One Special Book Review: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Fantastic Historical Fiction. Most of my relatives are normal, boring people. They have interesting anecdotes and some cool experiences, but overall there is nothing that will make me sit back and listen to them for hours on end. Billy Battles is nothing like these people.
Apparently taken partially from a real-life person, this tale is told through the great grandson of Billy Battles reading through the personal journals of his life as a young man, exploring the world and discovering himself.
Having studied history, the research involved in this book is striking and very thorough. The language, the details, the people and cultures, are very true to life, and I have to take my hat off to Ronald Yates. Yet the book doesn’t just rest on being factual. Through the journals, I got a very close look at Billy, and the people he met, which humanized several actual historical characters, without taking any undue liberties to make them fit a certain mold.
I read this book in a day and half the night, and I don’t regret the lost sleep. Reviewed by Dan Clarke.
Review by RoxB: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Old West Life and Times. Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2020. Verified Purchase. 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 grandmother saved in 1998. The memoirs revealed the fascinating story of Billy’s life in ways most of us have only viewed from the slanted perspective of television. Ted reflected upon how he related to Billy because they traveled similar career paths.
Billy’s worked as a journalist for multiple newspapers causing him to travel across the old west. He lived during, what is commonly called Old West, times of lawlessness, bank robbers, and marshals rode horses or railroad with their Colt’s handy. During his travels, his path crossed with notables like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Diamond Jim Brady, and Billy the Kid.
The stories of his travels are shared in a way that worked for me. I enjoyed the writing, especially with the authentic vernacular of the times. I highlighted the area below where Billy hooks back up with Doc Holliday after several years. Doc is fighting his TB at that point.
“I filled him in on my career at the Denver Sun, my marriage to Mallie, and my last run-in with the Bledsoes in Lawrence.
“I am pleased to see that a woman has made an honest man of you. That’s more than can be said for me,”
Doc said. “Seems like when it came to women, all I did was put a spoke in the wheel.”
“I just got lucky, I guess.”
With that, Doc pulled a small silver flask from under his blanket and took a short swig. It wasn’t whiskey, but laudanum often used to ease the symptoms and pain of TB. “This stuff used to help, but now it just seems to be a damned bad habit,” he said, returning the flask to its hiding place.
We talked a while longer. I asked him if he had seen Wyatt recently.
“He and Josie stopped by in Gunnison maybe four years ago, on their way to Denver to get hitched—at least that’s what they told me,” Doc rasped.
He fell into a short coughing fit, and I felt guilty that by making him talk so much, I had brought it on. “Sorry, Doc… I don’t mean to make things worse.”
“Don’t worry… they can’t get any worse than they already are. I’m about played out.”
Then holding up the book he had been reading, he asked, “Have you read Homer?”
I explained that I had as part of an assignment at the University of Kansas.
“In that case, you might recall this line.” Then picking up the book, he read, “Let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great things that shall be told among men hereafter.”
He coughed again and took another swig from his small flask. “I think I failed Homer on all counts,” Doc rasped.”
I enjoy western historical fictions, especially with the action/adventure related in this book. With Author Yates using the journals, the woven history of Billy Battles becomes so personal. I recommend this to readers who like to feel they are a part of the story. The characters are well-developed, and the memories will remain with me. I enjoy this writing style. I now have my sights on book 2 and book 3.
Review by John W. Howell-VINE VOICE: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. What a great story of struggles and triumph in the early west. Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2014. Verified Purchase. Ron Yates has put together a fascinating story with the backdrop of accurate historical events which serve as a stage for this wonderful tale. Billy Battles is an intriguing character whom we meet as an old man. He has left his grandson a treasure of information in the form of extensive documentation of Young Billy’s life from the time he has left college until he begins a life-altering adventure in the Far East. This book is part one of a presumed series. I say presumed because the book ends with the word, “End of part 1 (to be continued)” I for one did not want this book to end. I was looking forward to the continued adventures of Billy who had just set sail for an ocean voyage which would take him to several ports of call to the final destination in Vietnam. This was the Vietnam of the late 1800s so if the first part of the book is any indication, many interesting circumstances will be served up very capably by Ron. So enough of what is to come.
The first part of this story was told with a ring of authenticity that could only be brought about by attention to research detail. It was very pleasing to have footnotes giving the reader money conversion rates so that the magnitude of some of the bills which needed to be paid were fully understood. For instance, Billy tipped his cabin steward $1 which in effect was a thirty-dollar tip in today’s dollars. Knowing this gives the reader some idea as to why the tip produced such great service.
The story has all the ingredients for a pleasing read; the plot is great; the pace is superb and the character development highly sophisticated. Billy is an individual who has been traumatized by a central event and goes on through the story being influenced by this trauma. Ron has taken the time to fully develop Billy into a thoughtful and caring person in spite of the forces driving him to a potentially darker side of his personality. Since we already met the old Billy in the first chapter, we know Billy never dies in his adventures. What we don’t know and Ron effectively manages this information is the effect these adventures have on Billy to the future.
The story is being told from the diary of Billy Battles and as such is primarily in the first-person past tense. Ron handles this narrator point of view very well and makes the reader very comfortable in following along on the adventure actually led by Billy. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes spot on dialog, excellent dialect, and skillful handling of an important story.
Review by Richard Schwindt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Terrific historical fiction. Reviewed in Canada on November 22, 2020. Verified Purchase. Billy Battles survives a long and eventful life, while remaining something of an enigma to his family; until his great grandson inherits a chest filled with journals and begins to realize what a remarkable man he was. Billy rode with, fought with and engaged with some of the most mythologized characters of his era; including the likes of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, and unknowns like the nasty Nate Bledsoe. Finding Billy Battles is the first in a trilogy, which based on book one is worth reading. The prose style is clean and engaging and the story never lags. The emotions associated with violence and tragedy seem true and congruent with the events. Historical novels are tricky for all kinds of reasons but author Ronald E. Yates nails it, capturing the detail and tenor of the times. Highly recommended with salt beef and whiskey.
Review by SusiQ: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A train ride across America. Reviewed in Germany on July 18, 2018. Verified Purchase. I really enjoyed this story. Just the idea that someone is left with a trunk full of memorabilia, journals and a manuscript describing a great grandfather’s life is so intriguing. And so, begins the recount of the life of Billy Battles. This is historical fiction the way I like to read it. Set in the late 19th century, it’s a train ride across America. I know very little about this time period and it was a real pleasure to learn something about it in such an entertaining way. I’m looking forward to continuing with the series.
Paperback: 298 Pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st Edition (November 26, 2013)
Action and Adventure
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The Improbable Journeys Of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates.
Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 2.
Billy Battles is definitely not in Kansas anymore.
As Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy opens, Billy is far from his Kansas roots and his improbable journeys are just starting.
The year is 1894 and Billy is aboard the S S China sailing to the inscrutable Far East. Trouble is not far behind. He has met a mysterious and possibly dangerous German Baroness. He has locked horns with malevolent agents of the German government and battled ferocious Chinese and Malay pirates in the South China Sea.
Later, he is embroiled in the bloody anti-French insurgency in Indochina–which quite possibly makes him the first American combatant in a country that eventually will become Vietnam. Then, in the Philippines, he is thrust into the Spanish-American War and the brutal anti-American insurgency that follows. But Billy’s troubles are only beginning.
As the 19th century ends and the 20th century begins, he finds himself entangled with political opportunists, spies, revolutionaries, and an assortment of vindictive and dubious characters of both sexes. How will Billy handle those people and the challenges they present? The answers are just ahead.
One Special Book Review: You can’t help but be intrigued and fascinated by the intrepid, larger-than-life protagonist in Ronald Yates’ entertaining and thoughtful second book of his Finding Billy Battles trilogy. This time, you see how Billy’s tumultuous life begins to impact him in middle age as he seeks his next adventures to distract him from past grief and guilt. Yates has an effective way of revealing interesting details of exotic places during historic periods–this time primarily in the Orient of the late 19th and early 20th centuries–while weaving in a fascinating tale of a man in perpetual motion. One can’t help but find interesting parallels at Yates’ deft hand between Billy’s unrest and that of French Indochina and the Philippines during a time of conflict and pushback over European colonization. Ray Elliott, Author of, With the Silent Knowledge, Iwo Blasted Again, and Wild Hands Toward the Sky
Three Pulitzer Prize nominations by the Chicago Tribune, The Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, The Inter-American Press Association Tom Wallace Award for coverage of South America, Three Edward Scott Beck Awards for international reporting.
5 Stars: Compelling Story Based On Fact!
The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the sequel to Finding Billy Battles. I jumped right into this book without reading the first in this trilogy and found it to be a compelling story based on fact and expanded by narrative fiction.
Ted Sayles who is the great-grandson of Billy Battles inherits Billy’s journals and while writing this trilogy he stays very true to the language of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While this book opens in 1894 with William (Billy) Battles heading for the Orient aboard the SS China it covers his time in the Far East, Latin America, and Europe.
It is aboard the SS China that Billy meets German Baroness Katharina von Schreiber. She is gorgeous and regal, far out of reach of a Kansas scribbler (journalist). Since you have probably read the book’s description, I wrestle with what to share with you from this amazing story and journey that Billy Battles is about to embark on. I have decided to quote this passage to whet your appetite. I quote:
…“Katharina’s cabin was a bit larger than mine was, and like mine, its walls were covered with dark mahogany panels. In addition to the two overstuffed chairs and writing table, she also had a small dining table. That is where we settled, she on one side and me on the other.
…“I’m sorry, I have nothing to offer you to drink.” Then she paused, stood up, and walked to her wardrobe where she produced a tear-shaped bottle of Glenglassaugh single malt Scotch whiskey and two heavy cut crystal glasses. “Except for this.”
…She returned and placed the glasses on the table in front of us. “May I?” she asked, and then uncorking the bottle, she poured two fingers in each glass. “This was my late husband’s favorite.”
…I shuddered imperceptibly at that remark but pulled the glass toward me anyway. Images of Katharina pushing Baron von Schreiber over a cliff or poisoning him with arsenic-laced Wiener schnitzel flooded my mind.
…I forced those macabre thoughts out of my mind by focusing on the rich amber hue of the whiskey as I uneasily swirled the glass around and around in front of me.
…What was I doing? I found myself thinking. Why was I in Katharina Schreiber’s cabin about to drink expensive single malt Scotch whiskey with a woman who had just admitted she had killed, but not murdered, her husband?”
Murder, mystery, intrigue, people, places and events that were intended to divert Billy’s attention from his past soon gets him embroiled in Katharina’s past, with the German government, not to mention Chinese and Malay pirates. Later on, he finds himself perhaps the first American to be involved in the Anti-French insurgency in Indochina which will later be called Vietnam and involve America. War will not end there as he is forced into the Spanish-American War while in the Philippines.
Just as life takes many unexpected turns for Billy Battles so will your desire to keep turning the pages of this book to find out what is it about Billy Battles that causes him to try to escape his past, endure his new reality and find measured peace as he heads into the twilight of his life.
I invite you to read The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles as it is a journey worth your time. Be sure to read Finding Billy Battles (book one in this trilogy) while waiting for the author to write the final book in this amazing trilogy.
Author Ronald E. Yates life experience as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America gives him the authority with which he writes. It is important to point out he won “three Pulitzer Prize nominations and several other awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; The Inter-American Press Association Award for coverage of South America; and three Edward Scott Beck Awards for international reporting. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He lives in Murrieta, California.”
I really enjoyed “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles” (Trilogy Book Two) by Ronald E. Yates. Ronald E. Yates is the author of the “Finding Billy Battles” (book one in this trilogy) and “The Kikkoman Chronicles”: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Japan as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a global Economy.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
5X Space Cadet: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A great story that serves up a palatable and thought-provoking history lesson. Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2017. Verified Purchase. I learned so much from this well-written and meticulously researched book. I’m not usually that much of a fan of historical fiction, but in this case, it was a welcome educational experience. As Billy’s journeys take him to Saigon, the Philippines, and even turn-of-the-20th-century Germany, this story is richly imbued with cultural and historical facts I previously did not know. This included something as simple as where white pepper comes from, but most especially the dark history of colonialism. I had heard of the Spanish-American War, but had no idea it was fought in the Philippines, much less why.
I have grown up simply accepting the fact that the British, French, and Spanish did a considerable amount of exploring, which also constituted conquests for more land and resources. This is apparent by the languages spoken in diverse parts of the world, far from where they originated. Getting a glimpse into the climate and attitudes of the 19th century, especially how indigenous people were trampled and exploited, brought up multiple considerations that had previously been entirely off my radar.
While colonialism’s defenders note that it brings a higher standard of living to these areas, it is also at a high price to the cultural norms and freedom of those unfortunate enough to live in such a place. Insights into Saigon in the late 1800s provided a new understanding into the Vietnam War and guerilla warfare. While in some cases, America has helped defend these countries, in others it has been just as guilty as the European conquests. Ironically, American is the prime example of a country that rebelled successfully against colonialism, yet then went on to force it on others, for example Native Americans. We are no better than anyone else and it’s easy for me to understand why other countries hate us.
The best part of this story is that all these fascinating details were woven into the plot of a story with believable characters caught up in this historical drama, from the Old West, to pre-WWI Europe, and overseas in the Far East. I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys a meaty, well-researched read that serves up more than an interesting story. History buffs will love it. While it is the second book in a trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no trouble following it without the benefit of reading the first.
Review by Richard Schwindt: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. High adventure in the late nineteenth century. Reviewed in Canada on March 29, 2021. Verified Purchase. I have always found the late nineteenth century to be fascinating, and sought out fiction set in that period. So it is with great satisfaction that I have been reading the Billy Battles trilogy by Ron Yates. If you take a great story line, rousing adventure, impeccable history and well-drawn characters this is what you get. The first book in the series is a well told novel of a young man coming of age in the wild corners of Kansas. The second book now takes you, along with the protagonist – a little older and wiser – to the Far East. If you enjoy high quality escapism, I cannot recommend this series enough. Enjoy with spicy food on a humid afternoon.
Review by Marjorie Mallon: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Fascinating journey – well worth a read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2018. Verified Purchase. This novel is part historical fiction, part based on fact and celebrates the fascinating life of Billy Battles. Who has a life like this? My goodness! What a guy… I have not read the first in the series but I didn’t find that this hampered my enjoyment in any way. Billy’s journeys take him to Saigon, the Philippines, and even to Germany. This story is packed full of exciting events. What a Smorgasbord of reading delight!
It is an well-researched and well-written novel with the benefit of pain-staking detail which makes the reader feel as if he or she is immediately immersed in the narrative. I enjoyed this so much. I was initially attracted to reading this book by the mention of the mysterious East. My father, (who is also a Ronald,) has often spoken of his travels to the Far East and I hope one day to write his memoirs so this piqued my interest. The author Ronald E Yates did a great job in creating wonderful characters and a fascinating plot that kept you intrigued throughout.
I particularly enjoyed the section in the Far East and the ending kept me on the edge of my seat. I would definitely recommend this author.
Review by Raymond and Mary Berry: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Adventure! Action! Reviewed in Canada on August 24, 2018. Verified Purchase. I love this story, is one of the best books I’ve read this year! Riveting introduction! Ted meets his great grandfather William “Billy” Battles for the first time when he was 12….during the next couple of years Billy tells him about his life, to Ted, some of his great grandads stories are fantastical, but based on historical fact, Billy Battles’ stories about the famous people he meets and rides with Wyatt Earp, and his brothers, and the great Bat Masterson, who didn’t always write sports stories… Billy Battles life was far from boring as his story starts in the desolate Kansas frontier where he started life and where a shoot-out on Battles Gap takes Billy everywhere in pursuit of the bad guys…full of action the story takes us to Chicago then off to Asia.
Billy’s stories are rich in detail, an interesting diary of the late 1800’s to the First World War….the Billy Battles story continues in a further two books, and I’m halfway finished the second book. I love this story because it’s set in a young America, a time we don’t often hear about when the telegraph was new, telephones were coming and indoor plumbing was still a dream in the future! A Must read!
Review by Bill: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Fantastic book! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2018. Verified Purchase. This is a simply fantastic book! I loved reading about the adventures of Billy Battles and have already purchased and read the next in the series without hardly drawing breath. It is an action-packed adventure with romance and wide-ranging emotions but is also full of interesting historical insights and facts. The storytelling is epic in scale with Battles engaging in various wars as well as fighting pirates and secret agents. It was like reading three novels packed into one and there was never a dull moment. I couldn’t put the book down and fortunately was on holiday while I was reading so had to suffer few interruptions. I was recommended the book and didn’t know the author but after finishing I checked the author out and was not surprised to find he was an award-winning journalist who had been Pulitzer Prize nominated. I highly recommend this book and the author deserves great success.
Paperback: 406 Pages
Publisher: XLIBRIS (May 23, 2016)
Action and Adventure
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The Lost Years Of Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates.
Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 3.
Where in the world is Billy Battles?
As Book Three of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy begins, we know where Billy is. He is in Chicago with his wife, the former Baroness Katharina von Schreiber living a sedate and comfortable life after years of adventure and tragedy. That changes with a single telephone call that yanks Billy and Katharina back into a life of havoc and peril.
Persuaded by a powerful old friend to go undercover for the U.S. government the two find themselves in Mexico during the height of the violent 1910-1920 revolution. There they encounter assorted German spies, Mexican revolutionaries, devious political operatives, and other malefactors. Caught in the middle of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz, they must find a way out while keeping their real identities secret.
Later on, disaster strikes. It is a tragedy Billy is all too familiar with and one that will send him plummeting into a chasm of despair and agony. Then, Billy vanishes leaving family and friends to wonder what happened to him. Where is he? Is he dead or alive? What provoked his disappearance?
In Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy, those questions are answered, and the mystery behind Billy’s disappearance is ultimately revealed.
5 Stars: Remarkable Job Producing This Trilogy!
Saying goodbye to an old friend is always hard and that is how I feel as the “Finding Billy Battles Trilogy” comes to a close with book three titled “The Lost Years of Billy Battles”. The fictional Ted Sayles has done a remarkable job reading and producing this trilogy from more than a dozen journals written by his great grandfather Billy Battles. It is the historical significance woven skillfully within the element of fiction that makes this trilogy a must read for history buffs and fans of action and adventure novels.
After years of travel, relationships with foreign governments, wars of American making and wars forced upon us, not to mention the Chinese and Malay pirates; Billy and Katharina finally enjoy a few peaceful years where Billy is an editor for the Chicago Record-Herald and Katharina a successful author. It is inevitable that this serene period wouldn’t last forever. One phone call to go undercover will find them “caught in the middle of the 1914 American invasion of Veracruz”.
Just when danger subsides, I found myself holding my breath when the unthinkable happens. “Katharina wasn’t the one the five men were after. It was me. But when they couldn’t find me, they decided to take Katharina to use as bait. That was the first revelation. Next was who the men were. The man who had dragged Katharina out of the house was Mason Bledsoe, son of Nate Bledsoe, the man I had killed in 1889 on my family’s homestead in Western Kansas. When I heard the name, my knees buckled and my heart raced for a moment.” It was the ransom note that made Billy’s heart sink.
Of all the dangers Billy and Katharina had been exposed to in their life together, how will this one match up? When Billy is nowhere to be found, what reason will be uncovered? How will Billy Battle close the final chapter in his journal? Will Ted Sayles effort to canonize the legacy of his Great Grandfather Billy Battle live on for future generations?
There is no doubt in my mind that Author Ronald E. Yates’ extensive historical research, skilled character development and impeccable story telling has brought the reader to a successful conclusion in this thought-provoking trilogy. I invite you to read the entire “Finding Billy Battles Trilogy” as it portrays, as much a glimpse into history, as it does into one man’s life.
I loved The Lost Years Of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 3) by Ronald Yates as a final testimony to the life and times of Billy Battle.
Editorial Review (Book Marketing Global Network).
Review by A. William Benitez: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Like Walking Through History With A Good Friend. Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020. Verified Purchase. My only regret with this trilogy is that it ended. The concise and down to earth first-person narrative captured me from the beginning of the first book, which I loved for its real characterization of Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. Every book in the trilogy was like traveling through history with a good friend. I will definitely be checking out Yates other books.
Review by Heidi Mastrogiovanni: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. I loved all three of Ronald Yates’ books. Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2018. Verified Purchase. Why does a trilogy only have three books! I was absolutely heartbroken to see Billy Battles’ story end. I loved all three of Ronald Yates’ books. His prose is exquisite. He transports the reader to so many different times and places; it’s a cliché, but you really do feel as though you are there in all these distant places with the characters. The characters will stay with me always, especially Billy. The books in this trilogy are epic and absorbing. They are all page-turners. I never wanted any of them to end.
Review by CHERYL A. ADAMS: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Awesome!!! Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2018. Verified Purchase. These are great books that should be made into a movie! I see Tom Selleck in the title role! Wonderful history books!
Review by Helga Richards: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Five Stars! Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2018. Verified Purchase. A wonderful finish to this trilogy. Enjoyed all 3 Books.
Review by 5X Space Cadet: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Another Outstanding Glimpse of History and Our Checkered Past. Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2018. This well-written conclusion to the Billy Battles trilogy is its crown jewel. This series’ characters are so vivid and compelling it’s hard to believe that this is a work of fiction. Their involvement in the events of the late 19th and early 20th century brings history alive as well. The author has outdone himself in researching that era and many of the events of which only true history buffs would be aware. In doing so, he has performed a great service bringing them to readers’ attention because these various international skirmishes laid the foundation for much of the contention seen in today’s world.
As they say, victors are the ones who write history. It’s also true that what you hear in history class is based on what higher powers want people to believe and incorporate into their view of the world. There is nothing more enlightening than to see familiar situations from the other side of the fence. Through these novels, Ron Yates has done a stellar job of placing the reader in the middle of various international situations and, in the true spirit of journalism, objectively presenting both sides. Sadly, today there is so much bias in the news media that true journalism has virtually disappeared. But even before they stooped to fake news and blatant lies, the stories presented by the media were designed to maintain a certain mindset that fueled nationalism at its worst.
When the U.S.A. entered World War II, they were definitely invited. Western European countries still appreciate us for the victory made possible by our intervention. For example, to this day Luxembourg places a wreath every Veterans Day on George S. Patton’s grave, which is in a U.S. Military Cemetery within that country. However, there have been times when our actions were nothing less than intrusive, albeit based on self-protection. That is justifiable to a point, but once that goal is achieved, hanging around terrorizing other country’s native populations is flat-out wrong. If you’ve ever wondered why Mexico hates us, this book will provide some answers.
European colonialism, which we supported, is another thorn in the side of many countries, especially in Far East countries like Korea and Vietnam. Bringing our version of civilization to these foreign shores, which we were convinced to consider a favor, in many cases wasn’t. How we’ve treated indigenous populations in other lands is shameful and even persists to this day with regard to Native Americans.
Of course, America did not start this practice, which originated millennia ago. Not that long ago, we were a colony ourselves, who were being oppressed, which ultimately resulted in the American Revolutionary War. So, what did we do, but turn around and support colonization by those who had once been our enemy. When our borders or way of life are threatened, that’s one thing. If someone attacks us, we have the right to defend ourselves, but our intrusion into these other battles has often made us the invader. It’s no wonder that other countries fear us, and it spirals down from there. However, the world is now entangled in the unfortunate consequences of thousands of years’ worth of conquests. Cliché though it may be, it’s true that those who fail to learn from history are indeed doomed to repeat it.
I didn’t intend for this review to turn into a political essay. However, it demonstrates how effective this novel and its predecessor, “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles”, have been in enlightening me to some of the less than savory facts embedded in U.S. history, thanks to the exploits of Yates’s amazing characters. Their interaction with actual historical figures makes it all the more interesting and convincing. Astounding imagery puts you right in the thick of things, whether geographically or via the use of the conversational vernacular of the time. In more ways than I can count, this book is a masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and get started on this series today. You’ll not only be entertained but see the world in an entirely different way. Isn’t that what great fiction is all about?
Review by Raymond and Mary Berry: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Action! Adventure! National Secrets! Reviewed in Canada on September 5, 2018. Verified Purchase. I have now read the entire trilogy of Billy Battles adventures, I was riveted! I couldn’t put any of the books down, I read them one after another like a guilty pleasure! Billy Battles adventures included civil war in Viet Nam, then known as Con Chine/Indochina war with France, Spanish/America War, Philippines/American war, Mexican American skirmish-1917-1921 and a few other interesting points in history that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading about in this way…Ronald Yates, the author of this trilogy did quite a bit of research and used newspaper accounts of these moments in history to write about Billy Battles adventures based on true events. In recent times many readers I know have spent time reading about World War I, and the events surrounding the Great War, so it’s a nice to read about other world events that occurred a little closer to home, at the same time.
I would say to Ronald Yates. It would be great if you wrote about Battles great grandson, also a journalist, to find out what he did with the secrets Billy Battles left behind.
Review by Bill: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Brilliant! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2018. Verified Purchase. Another fabulous episode in the story of Billy Battles! As with the previous book I read, I was quickly gripped and hated finishing the book because I wanted to read more. The action is sometimes bloody and violent but always exciting. this time he gets caught up in Mexico with revolutionaries as well as German spies. The author does a wonderful job of blending history with fiction. Back home, Battles’ family life is far from smooth, which gives balance to the book so he is not a one-dimensional action hero. A great end to a brilliant series.
Paperback: 412 Pages
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. (May 29, 2018)
Action and Adventure
About Ronald E. Yates: 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 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 the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.
His award-winning book, “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” is the second in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy of novels and was published in June 2016. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014. His latest book is entitled The Lost Years of Billy Battles. It is book #3 of the trilogy and will be released in May 2018.
Ron has been a presenting author at the Kansas Book Festival and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, among other venues. He is also the author of The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, published by McGraw-Hill. Other books 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.
Before leaving the world of professional journalism where he toiled 27 years, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places.
His work as a war correspondent resulted in several awards, including the Inter-American Press Association’s Tom Wallace Award for coverage of Central and South America; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; three Edward Scott Beck Awards for International Reporting, and three Pulitzer nominations.
Ron is a proud graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas and a veteran of the U.S. Army where he served in the Army Security Agency.
- Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption
- The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 2)
- The Lost Years Of Billy Battles (Finding Billy Battles Trilogy Book 1)
- The Kikkoman Chronicles
- The Reporter’s Handbook
- International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents
- Business & Financial Reporting in a Global Economy
- Aboard the Tokyo Express (a collection of columns translated into Japanese)
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