Farrel Vogelhut ‘71, M.A. ‘80

By Meghan Sykes

Farrel Vogelhut ‘71, M.A. ‘80 loved college so much, he kept coming back for more. During his years in College Park, he recalls many “...fond memories of innumerable, profoundly positive and rewarding academic and interpersonal experiences.” His friends call him a “Triple Terp,” because in between his time at College Park he received his J.D. from the University of Maryland law school in Baltimore (‘75). Vogelhut’s love of learning and life didn’t stop with earning three Maryland degrees. This former attorney and retired highschool teacher recently added another title to his repertoire - fiction writer under the pen name Basil Truscott.  

Describe your book:

“Baltimore Logic” chronicles the saga of Martin Victor, a teacher of history at Baltimore City College High School (and a U.S. Naval Reserve officer) who gets drafted into a counter-intelligence unit composed of a uniquely diverse collection of FBI, Office of Naval Intelligence and Baltimore City Police Department personnel.  Tasked with protecting local aerospace and electronics enterprises from sophisticated and highly motivated Axis spies, Martin and his colleagues play a complex zero-sum game of espionage within Baltimore’s pressure-cooker context of ethnic, religious and racial communities circa 1939-1941.  Heroic (in a classical Greek sense) and poignant, this novel is a paean to pre-World War II Baltimore.

What or who was your inspiration?

The passing of my father in 2015 moved me to create an enduring expression of gratitude both to him and to his older brother who predeceased him in 1975. These two intensely serious and hard men taught me to value courage above all things and appreciate the humor and irony of daily life.

What is the #1 item you want people to take away from your story?

That there are no happy endings, just the happy beginnings we choose to create and pursue.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Only tell the story that you want to tell. Only tell your story the way that you want to tell it. Never compromise or be intimidated by others in telling your truth. Let nothing interfere with your effort to create your story.

What book is on your nightstand right now?

“Algeria: France’s Undeclared War” by Martin Evans.

What is your favorite book?

“The Crossing” by Cormac McCarthy.

What do you do in your non-writing free time?

Explore Greek Mythology. Study the impact of technology on human conflict. Listen carefully to my wife.

As a student, what was your favorite spot on campus?

Charles South, the dormitory where I lived from 1967-1970, was the crucible in which very different individuals influenced and changed each other to become more considerate and collegial.

What’s your Fearless Idea?

To advocate in favor of 1976 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and Professor Milton Friedman’s major theme in his book “Capitalism and Freedom” that, “…competitive capitalism—the organization of the bulk of economic activity through private enterprise operating in a free market—[is] a system of economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom.” Put the other way around, concentrating power over economic activity and the means of production in the hands of government is inconsistent with the preservation of individual liberty.   

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