The tellers of Tales of Resistance speak in voices imagined from archival material or heard in Missouri by the author, a returned native of St. Louis. They act out personal dramas set off by social forces that seem beyond their comprehension or control, but in some way or other they resist. In one an Ozark boy tells of his sexual initiation by a Normal School girl who becomes a ringleader in the pickers’ strike against the strawberry growers, including his parents. In another a crippled judge tells of trying to save three slaves accused of crimes against whites from lynching by a mob, afraid their masters will run them off and sell them to avoid financial loss. Other stories take place in a lead mine, a headlamp factory, in the Bootheel cotton fields, on a Gasconade River float trip, a river bottoms tavern among the soybean fields, and in an Oto-Missouria Indian village thrown into upheaval by the visit of a Scots trader sent out by the Spaniards to find a way through the Shining Mountains to the Western Sea.