Thanks for the suggestions so far. Of those made in ‘comments’, I think that several of them don’t fit what I was calling for. Ratzel is far too old, and Glacken (1967) and Tuan (1977) a bit older than I said. Tuan perhaps could squeak through: both certainly meet the ambition criteria. Yves Lacoste, La géographie, ça sert, d’abord, à faire la guerre, is also a bit older and is, I think, a rather different kind of book (much shorter, more polemical). Harvey and Olsson both had books in already, though several of their books would be relevant.
I don’t know all of Christian’s suggestions, and the list was certainly a little partial in focusing on English language books. I can’t comment on the Italian or Swedish ones. Some of those he mentioned I think are a bit too specialised in their focus: my point was not good or ‘the best’ books, but ones that showed a certain ambition. My sense is that the following of those additional ones proposed are the closest to what I was looking for:
Claude Raffestin, Pour une géographie du pouvoir (Techniques, 1980) – this is a truly great book, that really should be translated.
Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies (Verso, 1989)
Gillian Rose, Feminism & Geography (Polity, 1993)
Jacques Lévy, Le tournant géographique (Belin, 1998)
Sarah Whatmore, Hybrid Geographies: Natures, Cultures, Spaces (Sage, 2002)
Further comments welcome.