The New Yorker‘s John Lanchester on former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new memoir, A Journey.

On the six-hundred-and-eightieth page of a six-hundred-and-eighty-two-page book that consists almost entirely of detailed accounts of politics, Blair writes, “I have always been more interested in religion than politics.” It is just about the only mention of religion in the book. Blair nowhere says what his religious beliefs are, and nowhere discusses how they affect his politics or his decision-making or his daily life. It is a bizarre silence in a book of this type and title.

The issue of Blair’s religious beliefs matters, because it bears on the question of how he changed during his time in office as a political leader. He came to office as an exemplar of the “third way” in politics, the Clinton-like standard-bearer of a reinvented political left that was determined to listen more to the electorate than to its own rhetoric. “Progressive parties are always in love with their own emotional impulses,” Blair writes—one of the infrequent moments where he allows a glimpse of his inner chilly hardness.