Memoirs of an Outlaw

Life in the Sandbox

Non-Fiction - Military
292 Pages
Reviewed on 07/05/2013
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Author Biography

Robert M. Tanner is a former infantryman in the United States Marine Corps. During his time in the military, he was assigned to the Delta Company Outlaws, Second Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Second Marine Division. Tanner's travels have taken him from the Mediterranean and Kosovo to Djibouti, the United Arab Emirates, and Fallujah. Following an honorable discharge from the Marines, he went on to complete his bachelor's in business management from Rowan University, his MBA from Georgian Court University, and finally, another bachelor's in web design and development from Full Sail University. He began his civilian career as a contract specialist for the United States Army and has worked his way through various positions to finally end up as a business systems analyst with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Tanner is happily married to his wife, Melissa, and they are the proud parents of two little boys, Joshua and Gavin.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox" is the story of author Robert M. Tanner III, who was with the Marines during the Iraq War and spent seven months on the ground in Iraq. It is also the story of each and every soldier in his company and, by extension, many of those Americans who found themselves serving in Iraq. The name Outlaws was chosen by Delta Company when it was formed, which is a Marine tradition and, according to the author, bonds the company into a working unit. Tanner shares his experiences from his first day as a Marine to the last day when he alone is not in uniform, and Captain Quinlan sends him off with a book of military short stories as a parting gift from the company. Quinlan says he hopes Tanner will add to that record of military stories, and he has done so in this book.

Tanner's book reads so easily and smoothly, and the people you meet in "Memoirs of an Outlaw" are so compelling that you might sometimes think you are reading a fictional account and be tempted to check the cover of the book to confirm that this is indeed non-fiction. From the very first page, the reader is drawn into the story of this company as they train together, take a nightmarish plane trip to Kuwait, settle into the day-to-day hardships and routines of being a Marine in Iraq and experience the grief of losing a companion to an IED or other attack. I found myself drawn to the story and reading a page or two whenever I had a free moment. It is really a remarkable work and, even if you don't normally read non-fiction, military stories or history, I think you'll still get as involved in the work as I did. You'll also finish the book having been made richer in experience. I highly recommend it.

Maria Beltran

From a military man’s perspective, this memoir tells the story of the gripping courage of the marines. The battle in Fallujah brings them closer together and threatens to tear them apart as told by one marine. The author talks about their everyday life, the friendship, the drama, the action, and the horrible fates of some men.

A first-hand account of the author’s life during the most difficult time in the Iraq war, "Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox", offers us a strictly personal experience about the service and struggles. What makes this book different from other memoirs on the Iraq conflict and war, with all due respect to other authors, is that there is no political commentary in this memoir, making it more interesting to read. Focusing on his own story, Robert M. Tanner III also provides us the chance to know and understand better the lives of those who served and fell. A former infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, Tanner shares his war struggles without exaggeration. He has fought the war and provided us a clear description of the reality of war in his memoir. In addition, the description of the military experience is remarkably detailed, honest and intensely deep. It is agonizing on the one hand and illuminating on the other. This is one of the most touching books I have read and undoubtedly one of the best memoirs on the U.S. Military in Iraq. This book will give you some perspective the media cannot offer.

Lit Amri

In 2004, a band of U.S. Light Armored Reconnaissance Marines are deployed on an eight month tour that will unite them through a perilous fate in the most hostile battlefield in the world - Iraq. Through a personal account of a former corporal, “Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox” summarizes the Marines' everyday life during the war. Written by Robert M. Tanner III, this touching memoir focuses more on friendship, life, and devastating losses rather than on the combat itself. It focuses on the human side of the military forces while bravely on duty in a war far away from home.

Immediately the memoir reminds me of many war films that I watched a while back. It covers the full scale of the daily life of the Marine Corps during tour including the hardships and joy they experiences in the early days of war in Iraq. I was fully immersed in this fascinating story of extraordinary individuals that bravely fought for their country. It is very well-written and every scene can be easily imagined. Overall, a solid read and an honest memoir that is written mostly from the heart. I have much respect for Mr. Tanner who did a tremendous job of telling his story for his brothers, and I really hope that this is not the only book that I would see from him. I highly recommend it to readers who want to know about how life was for the Marines in the ‘sandbox’.