It was a classic Washington book party--when half of the index showed up to stroke the author.

NBC! CBS! ABC! Correspondents galore. And Barbara Matusow, author of the recently published book about television news celebrities, "The Evening Stars: The Making of the Network News Anchor," was loving it.

"I'm pleased," said ABC bureau chief Ed Fouhy, "that this is one time I can come to a Washington book party and tell the author I've read the book. Very important book."

Missing, however, were the actual Stars, some of whom apparently aren't pleased with their portrayal in the chatty work.

"I hear Walter Cronkite wasn't happy with his part," said Matusow at the noisy cocktail hour at Cafe Maxime.

"And David Brinkley didn't like it," she said. "I haven't talked to him but I guess it was the description of his relationship with Chet Huntley that he didn't like . . . But John Chancellor liked it . . . And Dan Rather was really complimentary about the book. He said he could see how hard I had worked."

Matusow has more than 10 years experience in network news, working as a writer and producer with CBS and NBC in New York as well as NBC and ABC stations here. She most recently has been working as a consultant for Jo Franklin-Trout, who produces documentaries for public television. Franklin-Trout and her husband, Hugh Trout, gave last night's party for Matusow.

The book has been excerpted all over the country, and the author was proudly displaying sales figures from the July issue of Washingtonian where a section of it was featured. Some reviews, however, have criticized Matusow for being too gossipy about the infighting at the networks.

About 200 familiar Washington media faces crowded in the restaurant--a remarkable showing for mid-August. The food was standard cocktail fare: seafood canape's, fresh fruit and fried zucchini.

Everyone present loved the book. Naturally.

"Well, I read the parts about me, I loved the part about me," said NBC's Richard Valeriani.

"Of course, I looked up myself in the index," said ABC's Ann Compton. "Who wouldn't? But I'm saving it for my vacation."

"I came out fine," said CBS' Fred Graham.

"It was great because the things I knew of personally, Barbara got right," said Sam Donaldson of ABC. "And besides, she quoted me accurately."