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“Hicks has given us a powerfully honest memoir from a military outsider..."

Full of dry wit that spills over into hilarity, this memoir chronicles the adventures of a liberal, anti-war psychotherapist in a role she never expected to have: offering counseling to military personnel and families. Hang on for a wild ride through Colorado, Kentucky, Washington State, Germany, and Korea, with stops at Washington D.C. war memorials, and German hot springs spas. And naturally, the DMZ. She provides a compassionate view of the emotional stress on military personnel and their families, caused by the U.S. being on war footing for the past twenty-two years since the 9/11 attack. With her outsider’s perspective, she sees how a military civilian divide has arisen in this era of an all-volunteer force, and provides insight into the common humanity of those who accept the invitation to be trained as warriors and those who do not.


“What happens when a left-leaning Buddhist collides with the military mindset? In her astonishing memoir, psychologist Maureen Hicks is recruited to offer counseling to military personnel and families at bases around the world. She reports her critical views and incredulity with a sharp honesty, yet unexpected surges of understanding and compassion seep in. In The Gift Shop at the DMZ, she faces the most challenging test of all — an assignment to one of the hottest, most conflicted spots in the world.”

Molly Best Tinsley, professor emerita, United States Naval

Academy; author, Entering the Blue Stone

About Maureen

After graduation from college, she worked a variety of jobs including secretary, construction worker, and typewriter repairwoman. She returned to school at the Wright Institute Los Angeles and got a Ph.D. in social clinical psychology, followed by thirty years working as a psychotherapist in both public and private settings. Recently retired, she now hopes to dedicate much of her time to writing — her true calling. The Gift Shop at the DMZ is a memoir of the five-year period spent traveling to military bases around the world. She now lives with her partner in Olympia, Washington, where she participates in choral singing and a Buddhist meditation group.

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“This book left me feeling well-travelled, captivated by the arc of the narrator’s inner journey. As a personal counselor for the U.S. Army, Maureen Hicks draws focused perceptions and honest reflections — balanced by the value of conservative points of view, in spite of her antipathy for hypocrisy and jingoism. Her insights are a delight.”

Jack Seybold, Peace Corps volunteer; author of novel The

Rising: Journeys in the Wake of Global Warming

Scenes from the Book


“Hicks has given us a powerfully honest memoir from a military outsider. Told with humor, clarity, and insight, the stories and reflections in The Gift Shop at the DMZ lead readers to satisfying insights — infused with a sense of hope. Highly recommended for lovers of the military, as well as for its critics.”

Jean Semrau, author of Kerry Jean: An Adoptee’s Journey

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