Books: Before the Deluge

THE PALACE GUARD

by DAN RATHER and GARY PAUL GATES 326 pages. Harper & Row. $8.95.

Another book about the overanalyzed and all too familiar Nixon Administration? Yes. But this time two CBS television newsmen have sliced through conventional explanations with some offbeat conclusions about what went wrong. The most provocative: the single event that did most to ruin Nixon was, of all things, Chappaquiddick.

Dan Rather, whose acerbic press-conference quizzing of Nixon outraged the former President's defenders, and his lesser-known colleague, Gary Paul Gates, make a brisk and balanced case for their assertion. Nixon,...

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