This is a fine - and beautifully produced and illustrated - study in the Indian (i.e. pre-Tibetan Buddhist) origins of the Vajrayogini cult. It examines the forms and practices associated with Vajrayogini in India, and introduces readers to recent academic thinking and research on this area. Academic specialists will have their own responses to the book, but practitioners and devotees of Vajrayogini, as well as anyone with an interest in the development of Buddhist tantra, will find much of interest and value in this study.
In this context, a response to Findlay Clark's contribution on this page is unavoidable. "Intellectual obscurantism" is a fine self-description of Clark 's 'review', given that - for a start - it relates to a mere 4 page section of a 563 page book as if this were the entire work! The misrepresentations indulged (clear to anyone who actually reads the book) and the loud noise of axes being ground speak for themselves.
English (p.37) quotes her Oxford supervisor Alexis Sanderson to the effect that 'long sections' of the root text of the Cakrasamvara tradition have been 'redacted' (not 'reduced', despite Clark's - disingenuous? - use of 'sic') from Saiva originals. Sanderson's work on this area may be controversial and some of it not yet published, but its credentials as academic research are unimpeachable. Papers by Sanderson that I've read make a strong research-led case for his claims, based on textual analysis. Disinterested questioning of these findings, based on research and objective evidence, would be of interest. Polemic based on sectarian assumptions is not. 'Buddhist practitioners' who really do find themselves 'offended' by academic research that challenges their assumptions might well reflect on whether 'taking offence' (i.e. anger) is recommended in Buddhist teaching as a helpful state of mind to be cultivated, or not.
On the issue of English having supposedly 'nowhere' discussed the opinions of B. Bhattacharya, see, e.g., p 427 where the point is made that the Saiva tradition developed 'its own tradition of Chinnamasta , borrowing and adapting from the [Buddhist] Trikayavajrayogini cult.' This alone shows that English does not adopt the simplistic position with regard to Saiva-Buddhist influence that Clark purports. As regards Dasgupta's comment, however able a scholar he may have been, it has to be noted that this was published 45 years ago (reprinted in 1974). In the interim - nearly half a century - scholars in Buddhist studies have continued to research this and related areas. A great deal of material has been made available and scrutinised - indeed, the area has flourished. Academic perspectives on Buddhist tantra have thus been greatly clarified, making more definite assertions possible.
The issue of 'authorisation' to translate also needs to be addressed. Surely, this is a (deliberate?) category error on Clark's part. English's book is an academic thesis, not a work of spiritual guidance or teaching. No spiritual tradition 'provided her with authorization to "translate" and publish these texts'. Academics have never considered such authorisation necessary, and nor should it be. This is quite different from the issue of academics having a sensitivity to the subjects of their study. On this issue, English has taken care - despite the fact that these are previously obscure Indian Buddhist sadhana texts which in most cases almost certainly have no living tradition in Tibetan Buddhism - to consult a number of Tibetan Buddhist teachers regarding the propriety of writing about what have traditionally been 'esoteric' teachings (e.g. Lama Jampa Thaye, pp. 106, 385 n.9). This also belies Clark's unpleasant sectarian point-scoring - a complete non sequitur - regarding what he calls the 'cultural arrogance' of the Buddhist order to which English belongs. Perhaps this explains the vituperative nature of the whole review. Let readers of this excellent and highly recommended book judge where the arrogance, if any, is to be found.