Disco refers to a category of dance music that gained its popularity among the Latinos and Black African Americans between 1970s and 1980s in the cities of Philadelphia and New York. Alice Eschol’s book “Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture” provides a detailed account of how the Disco culture of the 1970 contributed to the dramatic sexual revolution in the American society. Disco culture is the central theme in this book. The author explains that disco was the main driving force behind the imminent social revolution in the American civil society. By the use of the historic figure and facts, the author further shows how the thriving disco culture helped create a social disparity in the American civil society along the lines of femininity, sexism, race and color. “The disco culture provided an ideal platform through which the Africans Americans would come together, entertain themselves, and expression their freedom and liberty in the America society” (Eschols, 2010).
- The Rise of the Disco Culture
On the onset of the disco culture, the black African American youths would come together and entertainment themselves dance in the night clubs. According to Professor Eschols Alice, “Disco was a reactionary move by the minority groups (Mexicans, Latinos, and African Americans) in America against the popular rock music and the then existing discriminative dance that was meant for the royalty and members of the high class” (2010). Later, the disco took a different twist when other sub-culture sprang out of it- a phenomenon that the author attributes to the remaking of the American culture. Even though the disco began with the few individual members of the minority group, it later extended its firm grips to other mainstream groups as depicted by the author in the section, Saturday Night Fever, of the book.
The book traces the rise of the disco culture to the prominent influences of the legendary club deejays, such as Tom Moulton, and the increasing number of disco clubs across New York and Philadelphia. Typical of any other social grouping, the disco dramatically led to the introduction of other sub-cultures all united by the underlying strong bonds of divisive racism.
- The Fall the Disco Culture
Professor Eschol equally presents the documentary facts that led to the fall of the Disco culture in America. Owing to the undesirable promotion of racial segregation, gay culture, radical sexism, and open public prostitution, the disco culture attracted lots of public criticisms throughout the time of its existence. Many black men were pushed into gay malpractices during the disco days. Women on their side were in brinks of fulfilling their raging sexual lusts within the discotheques. Prostitution became a common business in the adjacent brothels. Similarly, the author is categorical that multitudes of the white rock music artists were against the disco in all fronts. As a result, they mobilized their supports to gang up against it. “The period between 1979 and 1981 marked the heightened anti-disco demonstrations thus the disco suffered a serious backlash and a subsequent decline in popularity” (Eschols, 2010).
- Book Review
In the “Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture”, the author offers a comprehensive historical background about the disco culture and its aftermath effects in the American civil society. As presented in the book, disco occupied a central place in the history of American because it remains a key social factor in the remaking of the American culture. The blacks African Americans, Latinos, and Mexicans (minority group) involved themselves so much in self-indulgence as they celebrated their hard earned freedom in the American society.
Making references to other independent historical publications, the government statistics, and documentary live interviews, the book accurately reveals how the disco culture gave birth to gay, prostitution, sexual lust among the women, violence and aggression among the black race. Prior to reading this book I used to wonder why the malpractices of gay, lesbianism, aggression and public violence are mostly associated with the African Americans. The right answer lies within this book. Similarly, the book suggests other new areas of historical concern relevant to the theme such as religious and political movements of the minority that arose at the time.
The book bears a lot of historical significance to the history of America. The readers could now understand why aggression, prostitution, gay, and segregation of the minority in the American society heightened around 70s and 80s. I particularly find this book an eye opener into the American history. It is made apparent in the book how various sub-cultures such gay, prostitution, sexism, and feminism came into being and later gained much influence in the American society. Admittedly yes, Professor Eschol has done a wonderful work in enhancing our understanding of the American history. Nevertheless, there is only one limitation posed by the book. The chapters seem to be quite difficult to read and understand because the author did not maximize the proper use of headings, sub-headings and illustrations.
- Conclusion and Recommendation
In summary, “Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture” is one of the most suitable publications that enlighten the readers about the rise of disco culture and how it contributed to the remaking of the American culture. It is well written in simple English and makes good use of relevant historical facts to support its claims. On this basis, I recommend this book for general readership.