This led us to a talk about Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickle and Dimed, in which she takes on a succession of blue collar and pink collar jobs and reports on her struggle to make ends meet in the process. Going back to the sixties, there is also John Howard Griffin's controversial Black Like Me in which he, a white man, colors his skin and passes as black in order to ride a bus through the south and then write about the experience. One of my favorite undercover stories is that of Ted Conover, for whom going undercover is his usual modus operandi, and who for one book, Newjack, became a guard at Sing Sing Prison.
A widely publicized case that takes the matter of "going undercover" to an unethical extreme is the story of the British pianist Joyce Hatto, whose husband passed off a hundred or more exquisite recordings by other pianists as her own. Well after her death by cancer, he went on concocting for her an elaborate fictitious life of concerts and recordings, which he sold on his own label. Mark Singer tells the tale in the current New Yorker in his article, "Fantasia for Piano."