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The Legend of Dynamite George


The Legend of Dynamite George

The Mining Pack Rat


Story and Photographs

by Carroll Bennett

For Middle Readers, Teens, and Animal Lovers of all ages  

192  pages, with enchanting photographs

 6 " x 9", Soft Cover/Paperback


Book includes a
Glossary of Mining Terms
and diagrams that provide information about life underground and mining operations.


Usually shipped within 48 hours

ISBN #978-1-892225-21-4

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$2.77 Media Mail

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Carroll Bennett

2937 View Drive

Grand Junction, Colorado 81504

(970) 245-4799

This tale began to take form when the author met a demolition expert in a uranium mine. The miner had a pet pack rat, "George," who lived in a nest in the mine's explosives magazine. Because federal safety regulations prohibited flammable materials in proximity of the explosives, George and his nest were evicted. The miners were angry.



Their concern for George--and all pack rats--is reflected in the numerous pack rat tales and legends in the west. One traditional folktale holds that when a pack rat senses trouble, it runs out of the mine; and the miners follow close behind. This story adds to the lore and is a testament to the "let live" attitude miners have for pack rats. George, of course, became Dynamite George--the central character in this account of a fictional mining world.

What they are saying about Dynamite George:


"Carroll's delightful tale of family love, friendship, and hard work, illustrates how miners depend on each other in a dangerous work environment.  . . . an educational and fun story from start to finish for young and mature readers."

 --Heidi Williams Pearson


"An excellent story about a pack rat with the courage of a lion and about the endurance of the miners. I especially enjoyed the relationships of Jamie and his grandfather, and their young friend Windy. Thanks for sharing."

--David (Dick) Mantlo, retired history teacher, Grand Junction, Colorado


"Carroll combines love of animals, underground experience with uranium miners, and mining folklore into a delightful story about a pack rat, his antics, and the children who befriended him."

--Robert A. Sammons, Jr. M.D. Ph.D.

About the Author

Carroll Bennett, world traveler and photojournalist, tapped into her eclectic background to write this imaginary mining tale set in western USA. Now retired, she enjoys sharing pack rat stories with others.

About this Book

When I was a photojournalist at the Museum of Northern Arizona in the 1970's, an employment opportunity arose that I hoped would give me new photo experiences.

Dr. Geno Saccomanno, M.D., Ph.D., a pathologist researching an epidemic of lung cancer in uranium miners, based at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado sent field technicians to the uranium mines to collect sputum samples. Our team drove a medical trailer from one mine site to another in four Rocky Mountain States.

This health-field experience exposed me to the mining world.  Many of our health tests had to be done underground where the miners were in jeopardy of contracting lung cancer if they did not wear their masks to keep out the dust. 

In Northern Wyoming, I met a mine demolition expert, Dee Haight. His pet pack rat "George" lived in a nest in the mine's explosives magazine. Federal regulations prohibited flammable materials in proximity of the explosives. When George and his nest were evicted, the miners were upset.

Pack rat photos in my story are original images of Dee Haight's pet. The mining photos in the glossary were taken when I conducted lung cancer tests underground.

Episodes involving the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in my story are purely fictional. Below is a brief explanation of the federal law authorizing the United States Department of Labor to protect miners in hard rock and coal mines:

The Mine Safety and Health Administration administers provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 and enforces mandatory safety and health standards to eliminate fatal accidents, to reduce the frequency and severity of nonfatal accidents, to minimize health hazards, and to promote improved safety and health conditions in the mining industry.  Public Law 91-173

After my lung-cancer research project, I worked for MHSA and Colorado State University. Now retired, I work with digital imaging, photography, and writing.

For another book by Carroll Bennett,
take a look at

Kikko's Tracks

It is this photojournalist's view of the antics of a delightful Siamese cat.

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Book Review

The Legend of Dynamite George - The Mining Pack Rat, by Carroll Bennett, is a special story from beginning to end. Its very first words in the prologue, "Claws shut like steel traps", immediately pull the reader into this 1970's tale set in a uranium mining town called Homestead, Wyoming. The book's title is a strong hint that Dynamite George is not a typical pack rat, but one that is unique in his attributes and contributions to life in Homestead. The photograph on the front cover is a warm invitation to open the book and find out about his legend.

Few readers will be knowledgeable about uranium mining or pack rats, however, the author quickly presents essential information so that readers move through the story quite comfortably. Of course, the main character of the story is Dynamite George, but each of the humans he touches is made very real by the author as this suspenseful story unfolds.

The settings are well developed through the author's skill with details, making each location in Homestead and the uranium mine vividly clear to the reader. Photographs all taken by the author, as well as graphics and a mining glossary, further enhance the reader's understanding of the plot and the settings.

There are a number of themes crisply woven into this tale, some of which include the very hard and dangerous work of mining, the financial struggle of those who make it their life's work, and generational differences. Most importantly, though, is the theme that the bravery of heroes is found not just in humans.

This is a very remarkable story that will linger in the reader's mind long after the last chapter has been read. It is ideal to be made into a family movie, reaching a very large and appreciative audience.

Bobbi Kahan, B.A., M.A., M.I.S.
Learning Resources Center
400 N. State of Franklin Road
Johnson City, TN 37604

For information and orders contact us at: PackRat@DynamiteGeorge.com

Other sites to visit in regards to Carroll Bennett's books, photos and Art: Winmarkcom.com | CarrollBennett.com | KikkosTracks.com | Foto-Fantasi-Press.com