"Tears of Honor" By James A. Ardaiz: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Terrance McArthur

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it. 

As a child, my mother told me of how, after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Japanese-born people living in the United States and American-born citizens of Japanese descent, were put in “relocation camps” during World War II. My high school counselor had taught school in her camp. Later, I learned about World War II’s 100/442nd Regimental Combat Team of Japanese-American soldiers in an article about Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye, who fought in the unit and lost an arm. I saw the TV-movie Farewell to Manzanar and read the book about life in the camps. The story of their treatment has always interested me, which is why I wanted to review Tears of Honor, a novel of Japanese American heroism in World War II by James A. Ardaiz.

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Image Source Pace Press
Ardaiz, a former prosecutor and judge, has written non-fiction (Hands Through Stone, a gritty examination of the Fran’s Market Murders and the man who orchestrated the crime from a prison cell) and mystery fiction (Fractured Justice and Shades of Truth), Tears of Honor blends fiction and nonfiction into a docudrama that places invented characters next to the documented conversations of historical figures and people the author interviewed over years of research.

Sammy, Freddy, and Mickey travel from dusty Calwa in the San Joaquin Valley to relocation at the Fresno Fairgrounds, Manzanar, and Arkansas, uprooted to military training camps, and sent across oceans. They grow from baseball-obsessed teens to battle-fatigued soldiers with a goal: to prove the honor of their parents to a nation that considers them the enemy. Young Oak Kim, a Korean-American, becomes a leader who never wears a helmet in combat (One of the 100/442nd veterans Ardaiz interviewed; his true story is woven around the invented tales). Yuki and Tug are Hawaiians of Japanese ancestry whose laid-back attitudes are rudely shaken in battle. Oklahoma-born Sack joins the Navy and serves on the U.S.S. Arizona until December 7, 1941. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Earl Warren, and various military and other real-life persons have their part in the narrative, and documented writings and conversations are cleverly used in a manner that does not intrude, but indicates that these are their actual words.

The combat scenes are detailed, graphic, and sometimes hard to bear. Ardaiz doesn’t glorify war. He shows some military blunders and actions that made me wonder if the Army was trying to kill off these Japanese-American soldiers, constantly putting them in the line of battle.

The question Ardaiz spent years trying to answer is: Why would Japanese-American boys leave their families in the camps to fight for the nation that imprisoned them? The answer seems to be: for the honor of their families and the United States of America—their home.

To enter to win a copy of Tears of Honor, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "tears,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 22, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is newly retired as a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children's tales to splatterpunk horror. He's an odd bird, but he's nice to have around.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This sounds like a fascinating book that I would enjoy reading.

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  2. This sounds like a book that would be a fascinating and engaging read.

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  3. Would really enjoy reading. Thanks for the chance.

  4. Sounds like a great novel of little known events in WWII. I'd love to have a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  5. This sounds amazing, would love to get a copy! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com


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