The third volume in what seems to be emerging as an influential series, Best Friends sticks close to the formula that made the volumes Sisters and Mothers and Daughters so phenomenally successful: terse, rather breezy profiles matched with straightforward, tighly focused photographs. Wohlmuth (a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer) and Saline (a senior writer for Philadelphia magazine) know how to get the most from their material; the photographs are nicely varied and comfortable, the profiles offer a der mix of mt-a-tat observation and dialogue. There's also, wisely, a wide range of material here. Some profiles focus on the friendships that have nourished the famous (Patti LaBelle, Larry King, Naomi Judd, Gay Talese); many others offer glimpses of the relationships that have sustained people from a variety of backgrounds (two women who first met as captives of the Nazis in WWII; a young gay man and his beloved grandmother; two men who first met as teenagers in the service, before being shipped off to Vietnam). While the lessons are unsurprising (""A best friend,"" one subject notes, ""is like a completion. She makes you better than you are.""), the stories here--of loss and struggle, and of sustaining friendships--are often both surprising and moving.